Every year, October is a month set aside by the World Health Organization (WHO) to encourage and raise more awareness globally about Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer is the leading type of cancer among women worldwide. According to WHO, 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer in 2020. And 685,000 deaths were recorded making it the world’s most prevalent cancer.
In a bid to spread more awareness to many Nigerian women, DRO Health spoke to a Nonye Ezeaka, a Nigerian woman who had a breast cancer scare when she was 19 years old. Read her story below.
1. How old were you when you felt lumps in your breast?
Nonye: I think I was around 19-20 years old when I felt it.
2. How did you feel and what was your reaction?
Nonye: Okay, so I didn’t want to believe it at first when I felt the lump. I was settling down to sleep so I brushed aside the thought. But when I woke up, I checked again and the lump was still there it was a call for panic.
3. On which breast did you feel the lump in?
Nonye: The lump was growing in my left breast.
4. Is there a history of breast cancer in your family? Has anyone in your family tree had breast cancer?
Nonye: No, no one in my family has had breast cancer before.
5. How did you find the lump at first? Through a breast self-exam or a diagnostic test?
Nonye: I was at home when I felt the lump, so I’ll say through a self breast exam. I went for an ultrasound later on.
6. What were the next steps for you after confirming there was a lump in your breast?
Nonye: I went to the breast clinic in Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) to confirm if the lump was benign or cancerous. Thankfully it was benign, so that was a relief. I just had to go through some more tests to confirm was really benign and had not spread.
7. How many more tests did you go through to confirm?
Nonye: I went through two more tests before a confirmation was given. I had to go through an ultrasound and I had a Fine Needle Aspiration Cytology (FNAC) procedure carried out.
8. What was the process to get the lump removed from your breast?
Nonye: The lump was removed through a surgical process. A simple lump excision or lumpectomy was carried out. The procedure was simple and pain free, I was given an anesthesia to numb any pain. The process took less than 2 hours in total. After the procedure I wasn’t given any drugs, just some instructions to let the wound heal properly.
9. Where did you have the lump removed and how much did it cost?
Nonye: The lump was removed at a private hospital in Ikeja, Lagos. The procedure cost around 80,000 Naira.
10. Nowadays are you taking any conscious efforts to ensure you’re healthy and safe in the future?
Nonye: Nothing specific. Nowadays, I just try to be more conscious about living a healthier lifestyle.
11. What’s your message to other Nigerian women about breast cancer?
Nonye: Learn how to perform breast self-examinations.
Some early signs of breast cancer are: swelling, bulging of the skin, redness, fluids from the nipples, inverted nipples, etc. You can perform a breast self-exam on yourself at home to detect these signs early enough. If you feel the need to speak to a professional at anytime, you can do so on the DRO Health app. You can also book for a breast cancer diagnostic test on the app or visit www.drohealth.com to start.
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