By Ojo Oluwafemi
The Founder, Breast Cancer Association of Nigeria (BRECAN), Mrs Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu, has recalled how she almost gave up 23 years ago because not many people wanted to associate with the NGO at the initial stage.
Mrs Akeredolu, wife of Ondo State Governor, and a 23-year-old survivor of breast cancer revealed that most people then believed joining BRECAN was an invitation to be a victim of breast cancer.
The governor’s wife made this known on Sunday at the celebration of Pink October 2020, organised by the Oyo State chapter of BRECAN in Ibadan.
According to her, I can never forget those days when I was a lone voice in the wilderness.
“It was a time many people were so scared of coming out as it appears being a member was like inviting breast cancer.
“Nobody wanted to be associated with us. Only very few people stood by me and we trudged on.
“I watched many people suffering in silence and, at a time, I wanted to give up,” She said.
She advocate healthy lifestyles to fight cancer and added that one of the benefits members enjoyed was not financial gain but an inner satisfaction that emboldened them to speak up and become advocates for the cause.
Dr Bolaji Lateef-Salako, Lead Oncologist from the University College Hospital, Ibadan, explained how cancer forms in the body and restated the importance of early detection.
He urged women to check their armpits as the breast extends to the armpit beyond the nipples.
Dr salako stressed the importance of healthy lifestyles and eating right and also appealed to women to take the bold step to visit the hospital if they discovered any signs in the breast.
Also speaking at the event, Dr Adeola Badiru, a medical expert and one of the guest speakers, commended Mrs Akeredolu for initiating BRECAN to impact positively on the lives of the people long before becoming addresses as a governor’s wife.
Badiru observed that many other wives of past leaders initiated programmes that were politically motivated and such died prematurely.
The National President of BRECAN, Mrs Juliet Ogbogu, said there were lots of people who could not afford the cost of treating breast cancer but BRECAN had been there to save their lives.
She called for financial support to enable BRECAN to do more in saving lives.
The Chairperson, BRECAN Oyo State, Tolu Taiwo, said that over the years, BRECAN had been at the forefront of celebrating two major programmes: World Cancer Day on Feb. 4, and Pink October.
She said that the events were parts of ongoing efforts to reach out and create awareness about early detection of cancer.
Taiwo said the association could not celebrate 2020 Pink October with ‘Jog4Life’ as a result of COVID-19 protocols that required the use of face masks.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that Pink October celebration is an annual event organised by BRECAN to raise awareness, advocate early detection, raise funds and showcase the survival of cancer patients.