by Christiana Gokyo, Jos
Cancer has been said to be an ‘abnormal growth’ of abnormal cells in the breast and can affect both men and women.
It is expected that women should examine their breast by themselves every month or go to see a doctor, if they find a lump, and do a mammography in the hospital, if one is 40 years and above.
Chairperson of Cancer Support Committee, Prof. Amaka N. Ocheke, disclosed this during the Breast Cancer Awareness walk in Jos recently, which was organised by the Medical Women Association of Nigerian (MWAN) in collaboration with National Council for Women’s Societies, Youth wing Plateau State Nigeria and Plateau State Women Journalists (NAWOJ).
The campaign awareness, which started by 10am, with a walk from the Old University Teaching Hospital (JUTH), took the women down Tarminus Market round Ahmadu Bello Way to Murtala Muhammad Way and back to the Old JUTH.
According to her, what makes a woman start suspecting that she may have breast cancer is at the early signs, sudden change in the shape of the nipples, a lump in the breast, which does not disappear after the next menses.
She explained that, it could feel like a pea/seed of maize in any part of the breast, which is commonly hard and irregular in shape, but ironically, it’s usually painless.
Prof. Ocheke said, nipples discharge may be clear, red (bloody), brown or yellow, sudden change in the skin of the breast, redness, darkening, swelling, flaking, itchiness and rashes, while swelling around the armpit or collarbone.
She further explained that, enlargement of one breast, restrictions of the nipples goes inwards, back to the breast, and dimples appearing on the skin of the breast, which an old lump start getting bigger, while the skin of the breast start looking like an orange peel, with visible vain on the skin of the breast.
She said the person would start having unintentional weight loss, poor appetite and any other system could develop complaint, if cancer has spread to it, and it can spread to anywhere, cough – because of spread to lumps – convulsions due to spread to brain and sudden bone fracture due to spread to bones.
Speaking also, the NAWOJ Chairman Plateau State Chapter, Nene Dung, said, usually the month of October is being set aside for Breast Cancer awareness, and it is important that NAWOJ lends her voice with the Medical Women Association of Nigerian in the State to inform and educate women on the need for early detection.
Prof. Ocheke noted that, “Cancer is treatable and is not death sentence; there are people, who have lived with cancer for 20 years and have been receiving treatment, but this is because women did not even care to check themselves.”
She advised that, if a woman is 20 years old and is seeing her menses, she should go and check herself – whether she’s married or not – “as long as you are seeing your menses.”
The chairperson noted that, the target age is from 20 to 40 years old of women likely to be affected, and hopes that they would have the opportunity to take the campaign awareness to the rural areas because the rural women need this awareness mostly.