The cancer screening center is a bold and unique attempt to contribute our quota towards tackling the scourge of cancer and its attendant mortality and morbidity in Nigeria. In the past few years, our cancer screening center has embarked upon an aggressive public enlightenment, to educate the masses on the early signs of cancer, especially Breast, Cervical and prostate cancer. We recognise, that funding and access are key problems especially for Nigerians living in the rural areas and communities. Consequently, our Cancer Center organises seminars and training programs on a mainly Humanitarian basis. Most of our trainings and programs include free Breast Cancer screening, including CBE, Safe Breast practices, Cervical Pap smears and Prostate screening. We are gradually increasing our scope to include Colon cancer. The Cancer Screening Center provides free Resource persons to assist other NGO’s and Government agencies at State and National Levels with similar objectives, including Free Train the Trainers Program (TTP). Our Cancer Screening Center is headed by Dr Felix Erondu, who is a specialist in Breast Imaging, and also Clinical Chair for the Cancer Management RoundTable (CMR) and regional coordinator for BWS. The cancer screening center is run in collaboration with BWS (BREAST WITHOUT SPOT INITIATIVE;(www.bwsinit.org). This is a non-governmental organization with a focus on reducing the burden of cancer in Nigeria, through advocacy, public enlightenment, capacity building and manpower development and provision of screening facilities to even the remote locations in Nigeria.
WHAT ABOUT THE SCREENING CENTER ?
Undertakes screening and diagnosis of cancers such as Breast, cervical and prostate for individuals and corporate organizations.
Public awareness and enlightenment in collaboration with BWS
Training and capacity building for BWS advocates
Free counseling on risk factors, social and demographic components, life style changes, diagnostic and treatment options for symptomatic and asymptomatic individuals
24 hour help-desk for individuals with Cancer
Co-ordinating the BWS cancer Management Roundtable ( BWS-CMR)
Organizes free seminars on best breast practices including BSE, CBE, Mammogram
Research and data-bank management on cancer and related issues.
Collaborations with other NGO’s, government agencies and philanthropic individuals towards tackling cancer burden in Nigeria.
- Population based, mass screening exercises
- Assists individuals to access best medicare within Nigeria as well as other countries like South Africa, India and USA.
BWS KEY STATEMENT: Though it is common knowledge in developed nations that early detection of cancer through regular medical checks will increase the chances of survival, in Nigeria, more than 83-87% of cancer patients present late.
BURDEN OF CANCER
According to WHO, cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and the total number of cases globally is increasing. Cancer is responsible for more deaths than all deaths due to HIV/AIDS, TB and malaria combined.
In Nigeria (specifically for Breast cancer), over 80% of predicted global deaths from breast Ca will occur in Africa (500,000 new cases annually). In Nigeria, incidence is between 7-10,000 new cases annually. Breast cancer affects a younger and more productive age group in Nigeria (25-35yrs , 35-45yrs).
OUR TARGET: The advocacy by BWS is meant to tackle the issues bordering on
-Low awareness level
-No knowledge of Ca in general
-Fear and denial
-Superstition and cultural bias
-Wrong interpretation and understanding of signs and symptoms
-Accepting suggestions from unqualified persons
-Fear of stigmatization and abandonment by spouse
-Loss of follow-up
-Lack of screening tools at community levels
-Low index of suspicion by some healthcare providers in rural settings
BREAST CANCER and MAMMOGRAM
What is mammogram
Mammograms are used as a screening tool to detect early breast cancer in women who have no symptoms and to diagnose breast disease in women experiencing symptoms such as pain, lump, nipple discharge.
Who needs it?
We recommend African women over 35years to get a mammogram.Women in their 20s and 30s should have clinical breast exanination CBE as part of a periodic (regular)health examination by a professional preferably every 3years.Those with symptoms are also recommended to do breast ultrasound (sono mammogram).
A mammogram unit is a rectangular box containing an x-ray tube .The unit is used only for x-ray examination of the breast.It also has a device that holds and slightly and slightly squeezes the breast during the test.
After changing into a gown, a qualified radiographer will position your breast between 2 plastic plates attached to the machine .The plate squeezes the breast to spread it and ensure that there is very little movement during the test. Although the squeezing may produce slight pressure or minor discomfort, it lasts only a few seconds while the x-ray image is taken.
The Result :
The images are obtained from the top and side of the breasts. Thereafter, a specially trained doctor will interpret and analyze the images and give a report within 48hours .We can also arrange second opinions from other radiologists abroad (Canada,UK and USA)
How Do I prepare for the test:
. The best time for a mammogram is one week after menstrual period
. Do not wear deodorant ,talcum powder, lotion under your arms or breast on the day of the exam .These can introduce tiny spots which may confuse the doctor during Interpretation.
. Bring old mammogram results and biopsies while coming.
. Inform the radiographer doing the test if you are pregnant, breast feeding or have breast implants and any previous surgeries
. Discuss your concerns with our BWS support staff or your doctor
. If your mammogram is abnormal, contact your doctor immediately and seek support from BWS counselor
Imaging of the breast improves a doctor’s ability to detect small tumors. When cancers are small, the woman has more treatment options and cure is more likely. Screening mammograms allow the detection of small abnormal growth in the milk ducts of the breast. These can easily be removed at this stage without harm to the woman. It can also detect all forms of breast cancer and other changes in the breast up to two years before you or a doctor can feel them.
Risks and Limitations:
The radiation exposure during a mammogram tests very minimal especially whendone in specialist centers like ours
A small proportion of mammogram tests (5-15%)may not be conclusive and require additional mammogram or breast ultrasound.
Since early and accurate diagnosis is key to survival of breast cancer, ensure your breast examinations (CBE), ultrasound and mammograms are done in specialist centers like ours.
BWS MODEL FOR BEST BREAST PRACTICES
.Monthly BSE from time breast buds appear
.BSE + CBE from 20yrs to death
.Add yearly ultrasound of breast from 25-35yrs
.Add yearly Mammography from 35yrs
CERVICAL CANCER & SCREENING
The cervix is also called “neck of the womb”. It joins the womb with the vagina.
Cancer of the cervix can easily be detected at early stage and has a cure. Unfortunately every 2 minutes,
one woman dies from cervical cancer.
Average of 480 new cases are diagnosed every week in Nigeria.
Half of these cases are between age 35 and 55years old
Ca cervix is majorly caused by any infection with HPV virus (Human Papilloma Virus) and most people are exposed to it during their teens and 20s
Sexual or genital contact is the most common route of infection
You can be vaccinated against the virus especially before debut of sexual activity and even up to the age of 28years.
Regular screening even when you are feeling normal is the only remedy .A simple procedure called pap smear VIA/VILI will find changes in the cervix that can be treated before they become cancer you may feel and see nothing. By the time you start noticing symptoms like cancer, it must have become advanced and the treatment may be too late .Get a pap smear in our centre today and save a life tomorrow.
It is a small gland located underneath the bladder in men. Prostate cancer is a major of cause of cancer deaths in men.
Ca prostate develops most frequently in men above 45years
At early stages ,you may have no symptoms .
Common symptoms include frequency, difficulty and inability to pass urine.
Pain blood in urine, interrupted urine flow, waist pain are frequently noticed.
Benign prostate hyperplasia(BPH) may also give similar symptoms.
Seek prompt medical attention
All men aged 40yrs and above should get a test called PSA and PCA3 annually.
Annual PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen)
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
Trans-Rectal Ultrasound (TRUS)
All these can be done at our cancer screening center
Do not delay .It might just be too late.
ACKNOWLEDGEMENT: Prof Ifeoma Okoye (Chairperson ‘BREAST WITHOUT SPOT’ INITIATIVE)