Battle to stem cancer scourge heightens

Battle to stem cancer scourge heightens

Tuesday, February 9, 2016 4:19 pm


Alhaji Lanre Bello, Leah Cancer Centre Executive Director (left) representative of Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed and other officials of the centre

Alhaji Lanre Bello, Leah Cancer Centre Executive Director (left) representative of Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed and other officials of the centre

The LEAH Cancer Centre in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, founded by Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, wife of the state governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, is stepping up efforts to stem cancer scourge among women in the state

BY STEPHEN OLUFEMI ONI/Ilorin

The LEAH Cancer Centre, a prominent arm of The LEAH Charity Foundation, founded by the wife of the Kwara state governor, Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, has, in the past three years of its existence, screened over 11,500 women, and it discovered, in the course of screening, that a total of 96 women had full blown cervical cancer while 200 had breast cancer.

Briefing journalists in Ilorin while commemorating the ‘World Cancer Day 2016’, the wife of the governor, Mrs. Omolewa Ahmed, who was represented by the Executive Director of The LEAH Cancer Centre, Alhaji Lanre Bello, disclosed that the centre provides mammography, breast scan, cervix screening, pap smear, various laboratory investigations and cryotherapy services, among others.

To bring screening, which is free, closer to the people and encourage cancer prevention where possible, through early detection, which is the only assurance to survival, Mrs. Ahmed said basic screening centres have been established in almost all the 16 local governments in the state, with some having as much as three centres, aside producing an enlightenment television series and embarking on state-wide sensitisation.

She said: “In furtherance of our efforts to cut down the devastating effect of cancer, we reached out to young girls in secondary schools and tertiary institutions in the state. We set up peer groups with the name ‘LEAH Anti-Cancer Club’ that will serve as a vehicle to reach adolescents and even their parents and/or relatives by sensitising them on health lifestyles that could forestall infections.”

The wife of the governor reiterated the centre’s commitment to the fight against the cancer scourge, saying “we, at LEAH, are prepared to develop the capacity of everyone around us, men, women, girls and boys, so we can all work together to reduce the global burden of cancer.”

She said: “The statistics for cancer deaths according to the WHO are currently grim. The organisation says that 7.6 million people die from different types of cancer every year and that four million of this number die prematurely between the ages of 30 and 69. It has also warned us that unless we embark on a rapid awareness and education drive in our communities, the burden of premature death from cancer, a disease which currently kills more people than AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis comb, will continue to rise.

“ This is no doubt a burden that we cannot continue to bear. Thankfully, research has shown that one third of all cancer cases are preventable with early diagnosis and treatment. This is especially so in the case of cervical cancer. “

To sustain the effort, Mrs. Ahmed said the organisation has mapped out a week-long programme in commemoration of the 2016 World Cancer Day. Lined up activities, according to Mrs. Omolewa, include “it’s all about us mothers’ summit, launching of our new educative movie on breast and cervical cancers, seminar to train the adolescents and young ladies who are members of our anti-cancer clubs and inauguration of new anti-cancer club chapters in other tertiary institutions, outreaches to markets, religious groups, military and para military institutions across the state such that all segments of our women in the state are with us on this mission. “

Realising that her organisation alone cannot successfully meet all the challenges, she solicited for the assistance, collaboration, sponsorship of the organisation’s various initiatives by public-spirited individuals, corporate organisations as well as governments, saying “together, all of us can tame this ravaging disease and save humanity.”

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