Some experts committed to the cause of ensuring prompt and accurate diagnosis and treatment for breast cancers have commended the One-Stop Breast Clinic introduced by Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Idi-Araba, as it marked its one-year anniversary.
The One-Stop Breast Clinic is a ground-breaking facility that provides reliable, specialised breast care services for women to seek diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer in a “one shop’’ medical facility.
The experts made the commendation at a ceremony in commemoration of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, One Year Anniversary of the Breast Clinic and Conferment of Distinguished Service Award, in Lagos on Thursday.
It had its theme as: “The Journey So Far’’.
Dr Adewunmi Alabi, Consultant Clinical and Radiation Oncologist, LUTH, said: “One of the reasons why the One-Stop Breast Clinic (OSBC) was set up is to enable patients have access to uninterrupted multi-disciplinary care.
“The other is for indigent patients to benefit from treatment vis-à-vis getting external support for their care.
“So, the simple aim is to help patients have accessible treatment and prompt treatment by helping women make their diagnosis and cross bottle necks that cause delays in their treatment.
“Through this mean, we ensure that they are treated as at when due, without them having late stage diseases or having increased morbidity or mortality as the case may be.’’
Alabi, who is the Breast Clinic Coordinator, said: “The result of these efforts is what we are celebrating today.
“Over 1,000 breast cancer patients have benefited from our Multi-Disciplinary Team (MDT) review and more than 500 persons have been screened for breast cancer.
“Our patient navigator services have received positive feedbacks from patients; we have also organised aerobics and vocational skills acquisition for our patients and MDT members.
“We are giving hope to the poorest of the poor to make them feel loved and our psycho-social support has left our patients with a different opinion of cancer being a death sentence.
“In all of these, we have enjoyed the tremendous support from LUTH management in ensuring that all these were achievable,’’ Alabi said.
Also, Prof. Chris Bode, Chief Medical Director, LUTH, said: “It is a marvellous idea having this one-stop clinic for the treatment of breast cancer; it has worked very well.
“We are already encouraging other treatments in other departments to start their own one-stop clinics; it is not going to be limited to breast or cancer,’’ Bode said.
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Prof. Aboyomi Durosinmi-Etti, Cancer Specialist and immediate past Chairman of Cancer Control Committee for Nigeria, also applauded the OSBC, describing it as “ a novel idea”.
According to him, it should be encouraged all over Nigeria and other parts of the world primarily because it takes a lot of pressure of cancer patients.
“Also, because it has a patient navigation, they are able to see the specialists they might need, from the surgeon to the oncologist and pathologist.
“In other words, all the various specialists who are involved in treating any cancer patient are under one roof.
“This is a major step both for the patient’s good and overall health care in the country,’’ Durosinmi-Etti said.
On the challenges in breast cancer management, Dr Caleb Yakubu, Consultant Radiologist, LUTH, said: “ The challenges are enormous; cancer care is not cheap and healthcare must be given priority in Nigeria.
“Treatment of cancer is not just surgery and giving drugs; there is also radiotherapy machine that is needed and it is an expensive machine that very few centres have.
“We need machines to equip the centre and for the cost of drugs to be made cheaper,’’ Yakubu said.
Prof. Akin Osibogun, Consultant Public Health Physician and a former CMD of LUTH, called for more awareness of cancer among Nigerians.
“People should know that cancers are not necessarily death sentences, particularly if detected early and appropriate treatment is initiated.
“They should know that if it is picked very early, it can be treated and the survival rates are very high,’’ said Osibogun.
He urged people to imbibe healthy lifestyle and avoid habits or situations that can predispose them to cancers.
“We can also prevent cancers by avoiding exposure to certain agents because there are factors in the environment that can initiate cancer.
“For instance, there some dyes, Aniline dyes, and chemicals that can predispose one to cancers; so, we can prevent them by avoiding these things,’’ he said.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that awards were given to some personalities and organisations for their commitment and support to the clinic.
They included Prof. Akin Osibogun, the immediate past LUTH CMD, who initiated the clinic and Prof. Chris Bode, the current LUTH CMD, under whose administration the clinic started.
Others included Chief Kensington, a philanthropist, Run For Cure, an NGO that helped to set up the process of the clinic, Cancer Aware, an NGO and L’Pacemaker Pharmaceuticals, involved in marketing and sales of oncology drugs.
Mobil Producing Nigeria, an affiliate of ExxonMobil, in Joint venture with the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), supported the construction of the OSBC, LUTH, through Run For Cure Africa (RFCA), an NGO.