A breast cancer survivor, Abigail Simon-Hart, has said cancer patients should not be ashamed to seek treatment.
Simon-Hart, the co-founder, Bricon Foundation, who spoke at a fundraiser organised by the foundation in collaboration with The WheatBaker in Lagos, said delay in getting treatment might reduce their chances of survival.
She said in addition to early diagnosis and treatment, cancer patients needed support and counselling to be able to survive the ordeal.
Simon-Hart said, “I had cancer and I survived it. Many people have had it and I must tell you that there is no shame in having cancer. In spite of the low survival rates in Nigeria, which are the lowest in Africa, just 20 per cent, it is possible to lengthen and improve the quality of life of cancer patients.
“We believe that equipping them with knowledge about the disease, lifestyle changes they need to make and, most importantly, the much needed emotional and financial support to beat the disease are important.”
Co-founder of the foundation, Dr. Niyi Adekeye, who also lost his parents to cancer, said increased awareness among Nigerians had increased the number of Nigerians diagnosed with the disease.
Adekeye urged Nigerians to pay more attention to their health by having regular medical screening so that diseases could be diagnosed and treated early at a cheaper cost.
He said, “We can beat cancer by working together. People must know that cancer is not a death sentence, because if it is treated early, patients could get relief or outright cure.”
They enjoined governments and other stakeholders to facilitate the establishment of more cancer treatment centres.