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Group harps on early diagnosis, treatment of cancer

by Athan Agbakwuru, Owerri

A group of cancer survivors in Imo State have identified early diagnosis and treatment of cancer as key to overcoming the killer disease.

The group said this in Owerri, at a cancer sensitisation programme, organised by the Federal Medical Centre, FMC, Owerri, in collaboration with Nigerian Cancer Society and the Walk With Us Cancer Foundation as well as other collaborating NGOs like Onyebuchi Chris Ifediora Foundation and Glad Women and Children Health Initiative.

Speaking at the occasion, Mrs Florence Chibueze, a cancer survivor, stated that early detection of the disease was the secret behind her survival. The survivor disclosed that she stayed in a wheelchair with oxygen support for two months while undergoing chemotherapy and thanked the doctors and family members for detecting the disease on time and taking expedient measures to assist.

Another survivor, a retired teacher, Mr Chukwuma Etonyeaku, said he underwent eight chemotherapy sessions in one year. Narrating his own experience, Mr Patrick Opara, father of a five year-old survivor, Miss Pamela Chima-Opara, hinted that his little daughter was diagnosed with leukaemia in May 2021 but is now in the final stage of maintenance as a result of early detection.

They thanked healthcare providers for detecting the disease on time and providing requisite medication that made their recovery possible. Speaking on the theme: “Close The Care Gap – Surviving Into The Future,” Dr Damian Oparaocha, a physician, thanked the survivors for sharing their experiences pointing out that their testimonies have shown that cancer is not a death sentence.

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Oparaocha however warned against the activities of quacks who pose as medical experts stressing that they complicate diagnosis and treatment because of their inexperience and lack of professional know-how to manage such complex ailments.

On behalf of the Glad Women and Child Initiative, Mrs Judith Enisire called on women to take advantage of the NGO’s free cervical cancer screening and other services. In her speech, Chairman of the Work With Us Cancer Foundation, Dr Okechukwu Duru, represented by his Programme Manager, Miss Chiamaka Onuoha, disclosed that 60 persons had already benefited from the foundation’s free cancer screening.

Earlier in her remark, the Chairperson, Imo chapter of the Nigerian Cancer Society, Dr Rita Okeredi, called on the government at all levels to subsidize cancer treatment and procure vaccines for the prevention of cancer.

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