The Theme for this year’s (2022) breast Cancer Awareness Month is “Early Detection, A Better Choice”. This theme was set by the World Health Organization (W.H.O.) and is being observed worldwide. In my hospital here in Lagos, several activities were organized to commemorate the month-long celebration. These include:
- Breast Cancer Awareness Walk: The hospital organized a breast cancer awareness walk through the surrounding community of the hospital including the local market. Hospital staff were all dressed in pink T-shirts. The ladies also had pink scarves while the men wore pink ribbons. A band set led the way, providing music to energize the group as they danced through the community. A member of the organizing committee intermittently provided information on breast cancer using a megaphone. The group moved from house to house and from shop to shop till they arrived at the local market where many of the market women were waiting. They were educated and counseled on the importance of breast cancer awareness, what to look out for, what to do and how to access care which includes coming to see their doctor in the hospital. The need for Self-Breast Examination (SBE) and Mammography was also emphasized.
- Breast Cancer Awareness Lecture and Presentations: A day was set aside for a major presentation on breast cancer by a guest presenter. The CEO of the Sebeccly Cancer Foundation, Dr. Omolola Salako, a Radiation Oncology specialist, presented on the “current Trends/Advancements in the Management of Breast Cancer”. She also came with members of her Team who took turns to provide information on the various aspects of the topic as well as shedding light on how clinicians from our hospital can help patients facilitate access to the latest treatments. Hospital staff were able to ask questions and seek clarifications to enhance their practice. There were also initial discussions on how our hospital can partner with the Sebeccly Cancer Foundation to set up a Breast Cancer Clinic for patients.
- Increased Breast Cancer Screenings: The hospital also aimed to ensure an increase in breast cancer screenings throughout the month, thus, the cost of the mammography was reduced to N7,000 for the general public while hospital staff were to pay N4,000. The price reductions were announced at all the programs and activities throughout the month including on media outlets.
- Health Education and Promotion in all Out-patient Clinics: Patients were provided with information on breast cancer as they waited to see the doctor. Questions were asked and answered and many were convinced to take action on the mammography screening.
- Religious Activities: Staff were also deployed to religious institutions around the hospital to provide awareness and information in churches and mosques around the hospital. While the midweek and Sunday services of churches were targeted for Christians, the Friday Jumaat service of the mosques were also targeted for Muslims.
- Support for Breast Cancer Survivors and Honoring Victims of Breast Cancer: Special programs were organized for breast cancer survivors who had been treated by clinicians in the hospital. At this forum, about ten of these patients told their stories and detailed their survival journey. This encouraged many others. The highpoint was honoring these survivors with gifts and encouraging them to continue being advocates by sharing their survival stories so that many more will be convinced to seek care in good time.
- Campaign on Conventional and Social Media Channels: All the activities highlighted above were relayed on the hospital’s social media handles, while many of our clinicians took turns to visit radio and TV stations to educate the general public and reach a wider audience on breast cancer.
Overall, activities marking ‘Pink October’ in our hospital were well organized, well implemented and achieved set goals and objectives.