By Grant Moyo
We need more women to survive breast cancer and spend healthy happy decades with their families. So we can achieve this as we all join forces by combining our collective resources, skills and talents, says award-winning Nigerian oncologist and founder of the Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre Dr Omolola Salako, rallying at the forefront of cancer antagonism. Keeping alert and setting her hope completely on the success of her earnest efforts for cancer outreach and survival, she is profusely advocating for the full engagement of relevant authorities as well as the society at large in finding doable measures to cross thwart and by all odds scrap off the havoc brought forth by the disease in the West African nation.
While oncology is a stem of medicine that deals with the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of cancer, breast cancer remains the most common cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Nigeria. In 2020, more than 28 000 women were diagnosed with breast cancer, resulting in over 14 000 deaths. It is to this that the objective of the World Health Organisation (WHO) — Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI) — is to trim down global breast cancer death rate by 2,5% per year, thereby shunning 2,5 million breast cancer decease globally between 2020 and 2040. Reducing planetary breast cancer mortality by 2,5% annually would fend off 25% of breast cancer deaths by 2030 and 40% by 2040 among women under 70 years of age.
To ensure more women survive breast cancer, some of the best minds in cancer care services in Nigeria — Sebeccly Cancer Care, Pearl Oncology Clinic, and Oncopadi Technologies — have partnered to create the Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF) Breast Clinic. This community breast cancer clinic gives women the best war-ridden chance for getting the better of cancer. Working hand in hand, the main goal for 2022 is to support the treatment of 1 200 patients.
Pearl Oncology Clinic is a multi-disciplinary cancer treatment center in Lekki, Nigeria, which is on a mission to be the first pick of humane cancer care and an associate to stamp down cancer. It is the driving mania of more than 40 health care professionals and organisations conjointly centered on treating cancer with leading-edge technology and clinical services. Sebeccly Cancer Care and Support Centre is a non governmental organisation sworn to serving cancer patients carry through their endurance latent through education, research, advocacy, treatment support and cancer care. Oncopadi Technologies is a digital health innovation company endowing African patients to be equal partners in their forethought through technology.
Established by some of the sought after medical expertise of this generation, the TGIF Breast Clinic services include diagnostic tests, blood, imaging and tissue tests, quality cancer treatment, surgery, chemotherapy, and medications. The medical facility offers support services like nutrition, counseling, support groups, welfare, and breast prosthesis. What is more, TGIF Breast Clinic has cancer specialists listing consultant clinical oncologists, surgeons, oncology nurses, to mention but a few.
Every Friday and throughout the weekend, breast cancer patients will have admittance to highly subsidised cancer care and psycho-social support. In addition, the TGIF Breast Clinic beneficiaries will receive up to a 40% discount on their treatment. This price reduction is being made doable through fundraising from kind-hearted Nigerians via several avenues — one of which is Sebeccly Cancer Care’s #1K4Cancer programme, which has been instrumental in alleviating the burden of cancer care on indigent women in Nigeria.
In the light of this, there is a deficit of clinical oncologists in Nigeria. As of today, there are only 81 clinical oncologists with about 30% of them based in Lagos State. As a digital health innovation company — Oncopadi — is on a mission to empower cocksure cancer care decisions by patients, irrespective of their physical location.
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So then, beneficiaries of the TGIF Breast Clinic will have access to the Oncopadi Cancer App, an award-winning telemedicine platform that leverages technology, data, research, and impact of scale to decentralise cancer care services and empower cancer patients. The app links up patients with illustrious oncologists via video-audio consultations and discounted health tests. Oncopadi also provides relevant cancer information via blog articles, e-books, and numerous platforms, to educate cancer patients so that they can make informed decisions about their well-being.
All clinical services for the TGIF Breast Clinic will be coordinated and delivered by the dedicated team from the Pearl Oncology Clinic comprising cancer specialists — who have an extraordinary depth of experience in diagnosing and treating all forms of cancers. The clinic’s team is on a mission to increase access to affordable oncology services.
Credited for a sterling job as a lecturer and an active cancer researcher at the College of Medicine — University of Lagos — Dr Salako, who is a candid tech driven digital health innovator and a champion for her leadership work in fighting cancer and inequity in health, as well as creating a safe space for people affected by cancer — is chuffed by the latest development that resonate with the full encouragement of patients with cancer. Being at the cutting edge of cancer support in Nigeria, the clinical oncologist weighed in on the importance of joining forces with some of the country’s leading experts in cancer caveat.
“It is a dream come true to launch this innovative breast cancer clinic. This is why the collaboration among Pearl Oncology Clinic, Sebeccly Cancer Care, Oncopadi and other partners will close the care gap for more than 1 200 women this year. We want a situation where any woman who walks into the Pearl Oncology Clinic Lekki door can start and complete her treatment without treatment interruptions or drop out because of financial constraints. Still, we can’t do it on our own, and this is why we’re calling on kindhearted Nigerians and people who want to give back, or if you have been affected by cancer, we encourage you to join us and also to support the Thank God It’s Friday Breast Clinic,” Dr Salako said.
As the universe celebrates Women’s History Month this March, indigent Nigerian women who are bravely fighting breast cancer — despite negligible access to affordable healthcare — are remembered. Along with this encouragement ponders the consequence of this cancerous growth, in 2020 there were 2,3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685 000 deaths globally. As of the end of 2020, there were 7,8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years, making it the world’s most rife cancer.
By identifying problems in cancer care and going on to create solutions, the Thank God It’s Friday (TGIF) Breast Clinic’s efforts to save women will certainly go a long way in the reduction of breast cancer infections and demise in Nigeria. Moreover, fighting myths and misconceptions of the disease is contributing vastly to the around-the-clock armed combat against cancer’s drawn-out multi-pronged problem worldwide.
- Grant Moyo is a prolific writer, innovative media personality, entrepreneur and a creative artist who is passionate about using his creative mind for the betterment of society. Follow him on Twitter: @TotemGrant