Early detection helps cure, management of cancer- survivor

By The Citizen
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A cancer survivor, Mrs Juliet Aguwa, on Wednesday urged the people to report any abnormality discovered in their breasts early to stem cancer and its complications.

Aguwa, also founder of an NGO, Courage to Dare Foundation, Wisconsin, U.S, said that many cancer cases would have been diagnosed early if people had been proactive in self-examinations and medical visits.

According to her, people need to periodically check themselves and be aware of changes in their bodies.

She said that any lump, cyst, pain, growth, or colour change should be promptly reported to the medical personnel.

“Late presentation of patients with cancer at advanced stages is one of the major reasons for the worsening rate of cancer in Nigeria.

“People should form the habit of self-examination, be it of the breast or scrotum. Then, regular visits to health facilities are crucial, so that any lump detected can be quickly scrutinised.

“Most times, if detected early, these lumps may not necessarily be malignant.

“They may just be a benign swelling and can be can be removed; then, the patients will carry on normally,'' Aguwa said.

Also commenting, Dr Olaleye Adewale, a Gynaecologist at the General Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos, said that early diagnosis and prompt treatment would help in the control of cancer.

“We advise women to do regular mammogram once they are above 40   years,' Adewale said.

An online publication, www.cancer.gov says, “Mammogram is an x-ray picture of the breast.

“Screening mammogram is used to check for breast cancer in women who have no signs or symptoms of the disease.'

Adewale said, “Most cancers start with older age. The older you get, the more likelihood of one getting cancer. That is not to say that young ladies also don't get cancer.

“ But, most times, it is with the advancing age; so we advocate early diagnosis and prompt treatment as it helps in the control of cancer.''

Adewale said that the first stage of cancer screening was self examination.

“Self examination is just one first step to cancer screening.

“The other step is the mammogram method which helps you to visualise the breast tissue and has more screening value than any other test.

“A mammogram is just an x-ray of the breast, whereby the breast is placed on a flat surface.

“The breast is pressed between the two surface of the plate and pictures of the breast are taken up, down and sides.

“There are some slight discomfort, but it helps a lot to detect the symptoms faster,'' he said.