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Engraced Life Foundation Urges Breast Health Awareness in Rivers State

Ethel Olomu, the Founder of Engraced Life Foundation and a Stage Four Cancer Survivor, is calling on women in Rivers State to prioritize breast health awareness. She emphasizes that breast cancer is an indiscriminate illness that affects individuals across all societal classes.

This appeal was made following an 8km “Pink Naija Walk” organized by the foundation in collaboration with the Rivers State Ministry of Health and other partners in Port Harcourt to commemorate World Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Olomu underlines the universal threat posed by breast cancer, stating, “Breast cancer is not a respecter of anybody; it doesn’t discriminate based on class. It doesn’t choose to affect only the wealthy or the less privileged. It’s a disease that transcends social boundaries, and that’s why we are urging everyone to prioritize breast health awareness. This is the reason behind our educational efforts.”

During the event, Olomu shared a poignant story, saying, “Last year, during a similar program commemorating World Breast Cancer Month, a father walked in with his 10-year-old daughter who unfortunately already had advanced-stage cancer. This heartbreaking incident made us realize that children also need to be aware of breast health. Therefore, our awareness campaign extends beyond this event; we are taking it to secondary schools and various communities. We recently conducted an outreach in Yobe, reaching over five thousand individuals. This event is also taking place in Lagos, and within the month, we will be heading to Ekiti and Uyo. Our breast cancer campaign is far from over.”

Addressing the issue of late-stage breast cancer diagnoses in communities, Olomu highlights a critical factor: financial constraints. She explains, “When we conduct outreach programs in communities and encounter individuals with advanced breast cancer, we inquire why they allowed it to deteriorate. Frequently, they express that hunger and lack of funds for hospital consultations were the primary reasons. To address this challenge, we introduced the B Conference, a program where we train women in skills acquisition to empower them economically, enabling them to afford regular check-ups for early detection.”

Dr. Alhassan Umar, President of the Nigerian Cancer Society, also spoke at the event, stressing that cancer is a growing concern in society today. He emphasizes that cancer doesn’t discriminate by age or gender and seeks to dispel the perception that cancer is always a death sentence. Umar asserts, “We want to inform the public that there are cancer survivors who have beaten the odds. There are treatment options available for cancer patients, and it’s no longer an unknown or insurmountable battle.”

Mr. Dozie Akwarandu, speaking on behalf of Dr. Alhassan Umar, elaborated further, saying, “For those who have not yet been diagnosed with cancer, we want them to understand that there are lifestyle changes they can make to reduce their risk. Factors such as lifestyle choices, diet, alcohol consumption, smoking, and more play a significant role.”

Tamunotonye Pamela, Founder of Eritage Africa, expressed gratitude to all participants and sponsors who supported the outreach and participated in the walk. She encouraged continued support for the initiative and emphasized the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.

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