Celebrate Cancer Survivors, Not Stigmatise Them -Expert

A Consultant Oncologist, Dr Omolara Fatiregun, on Wednesday advised people to desist from all forms of stigmatisation against cancer survivors, saying they should rather be celebrated.

Omolara, who works with the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH), Ikeja, said that people should not see cancer as a death sentence.

She spoke at a seminar on Metastic Breast Cancer organised by St. Cyril Cancer Treatment Foundation in collaboration with the Oncology Unit of LASUTH.

”The seminar was entitled: “Living With/Beyond Cancer.”

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says “Metastatic breast cancer is also classified as Stage 4 breast cancer; that is when the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

”This usually includes the lungs, liver, bones or brain.’’

Fatiregun said that early detection of cancer was the key to its cure and prevention.

”When it is detected early, report to a doctor. People can live with cancer and beyond it,’’ the expert said.

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The founder of St. Cyril Cancer Treatment Foundation, Mrs Moji Animashaun, said that the forum was organised to create awareness among women and men about cancer.

Animashaun said that the initiative, being the first of its kind, was aimed at bringing information about cancer to the grassroots.

People can still live with and beyond cancer; there is need that it is reported early so that it doesn’t become metastic.

”Know your normal self, check your breast after your menstruation, do a self-breast examination when it becomes abnormal or you feel any changes,’’ she advised.

In her remarks, another consultant oncologist, Dr Antonia Sowunmi of Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, said that breast cancer, if reported at an advanced stage might cause damages to other body organs.

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She recommended that there should be increase in cancer awareness campaign and establishment of cancer screening centres.

Sowunmi also advised men to always fondle their wives’ breast, saying that most men had detected breast cancer in their wives through the process.

Also speaking, a cancer survivor, Mr Bosun Rufai, said that having cancer was not the end of the world.

Rufai, who battled with lung cancer for five years, said: “It is a privilege that I am still alive today.

”I don’t believe it. I accepted the fact that I have cancer and I started its treatment early,’’ he said.

Rufai, however, advised people to eat more of natural foods instead of processed foods which he said pose a health hazard to the human body.