October, 2021, Owerri, Imo State:
A select group of Amuzi women in Imo State, Nigeria have benefitted from a free mammogram exercise to detect breast cancer. This service was offered by the United States of America (USA) based David Omenukor Foundation (DOF) following an appeal to the CEO of the Foundation, Dr. Keyna Omenukor, by Professor Eddie Oparaoji, a citizen of Amuzi, and founder of ECUDOMEF, who is also based in the USA.
The beneficiaries of the free breast cancer screening tests were selected by the parish in the area using some criteria provided by DOF, including age (older than 40), no history of cancer, and poor financial status among others. Those selected and who participated in the program are Ngozi Egbujor, Love Nwagwu, Ada Chukwu, Rita Anyanwu, and Bena Ibe. In addition to the free mammogram which was done in collaboration with Everight Diagnostic and Laboratory Services Ltd, Owerri in Imo State, The Omenukor Foundation provided transportation to and from Owerri for the test beneficiaries. The market value of each mammogram is between 30,000 and 35,000 Naira, not including logistics.
According to the United States Center for Disease Control (CDC) “mammogram is an X-ray of the breast. For many women, mammograms are the best way to find breast cancer early, when it is easier to treat and before it is big enough to feel or cause symptoms. Having regular mammograms can lower the risk of dying from breast cancer. At this time, a mammogram is the best way to find breast cancer for most women of screening age, with no history of cancer.”
The United States Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an organization made up of doctors and disease prevention research experts, recommended that women who are 50 to 74 years old and are at average risk for breast cancer get a mammogram every two years. Women who are 40 to 49 years old should talk to their doctor or other health care professional about when to start and how often to get a mammogram. Unfortunately in Nigeria, let alone Mbaise and Amuzi, the awareness, tools and resources to understand, detect and stop breast cancer are almost non-existent.
In 2020, there were 2.3 million women diagnosed with breast cancer and 685 000 deaths globally. As of the end of 2020, there were 7.8 million women alive who were diagnosed with breast cancer in the past 5 years, making it the world’s most prevalent cancer. It is against this background, Professor Oparaoji said, that the DOF must be appreciated for targeting to screen 1000 women for breast cancer in Imo State, during the October breast cancer month. To support this great initiative click the link to go make a donation https://gofund.me/e800c99e