Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu has advised women to make their health a priority especially by regularly checking their cancer status.
Represented by the Permanent Secretary, Lagos State Health Service Commission, Dr Eniayewun Ademuyiwa, Sanwo-Olu gave the advice at the 57th Annual Scientific Conference of the Association of Medical Laboratory Scientists of Nigeria (AMLSN) on Wednesday in Lagos.
He said that the women should take their health seriously by eating healthy foods and going for regular medical checkups and screenings.
He explained that regular screening and early detection were key to survival of cancer, adding that people should refrain from living in self-denial.
He, therefore, reiterated the commitment of the state government toward treatment and eradication of oncological diseases like cancer.
“Presently, there is well equipped diagnostic centre at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) and Lagos State General Hospital where people can go to do cancer diagnosis of any kind.
“Unfortunately, some people with cancer lived in self-denial only to present the case and seek medical intervention late when the situation had become complicated.
“The best way to avert the consistent and continued pattern of cancer claiming lives is early detection through regular check-up.
“Early detection increases the chances of survival and preserves many more lives,” Sanwo-Olu said.
A Consultant Oncologist at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr Muhammad Habeebu, said that lack of adequate knowledge and awareness among women was a major contributing factor to increasing incidences of breast cancer cases.
Habeebu, however, decried the poor attitude of Nigerians to health issues.
According to him, the increasing rate and spread of killer diseases in Africa has made it necessary that Nigerians cultivate health maintenance culture.
“There is urgent need to encourage women in Nigeria to be breast cancer awareness so that they will see the need to carry out regular cancer screening and breast self-examination.
“Participating in screening programmes is also vital to ensure that cancer is detected early, and you have the best chance of early detection, treating and surviving.
“To improve survival for breast cancer in patients will require concerted effort to change the attitude of our patients and put up necessary infrastructure and insurance,” he said.
Earlier, the Chairman of AMLSN, Mr Olumide Fadipe, called for increased collaboration with medical laboratory scientists to enhance their scope of diagnostics.
Fadipe said that governments and stakeholders could partner with the laboratory scientists to secure the equipment for cancer diagnosis, which were capital intensive.
“There is need to enhance the scope of laboratory diagnosis through equipment provision and adequate funding such that all cancer diagnosis and treatment can be done within the country.
“The idea is to reduce capital flight and the rate at which people travel out of the country for cancer diagnosis and treatment,” Fadipe said.
The Vice-Chairman of Ikeja Local Government, Mr Yomi Mayungbe, reiterated the commitment of the local government to create grassroot awareness about breast cancer.
Mayungbe said with the proposed awareness programmme, more women would have better knowledge about how, where and when to go for cancer checks.