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Anambra Library takes cancer awareness campaign to rural women

By Izunna Okafor

Women have been advised to regularly examine their breasts and other parts of the body, as a way of detecting symptoms or signs of cancer and  such diseases. 

This formed the point of discourse at the 2021 Cancer Awareness Campaign organised by the Anambra State Library Board, which held at the Ihembosi Divisional Library, in Ekwusigo Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The event, which was primarily targeted at the rural women in the community was also used to commemorate the 2021 World Cancer Day, which held on 4th February, with the theme "I Am And I Will".

Demonstratively lecturing the women, Dr. A.B.C. Ikeano of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, who defined cancer as an abnormal growth of cells in the body, revealed that Brbreast cancer and cervical cancer are among the commonest types of cancer suffered by women, with their respective high mortality rates in the society.

While highlighting the signs and symptoms of breast and cervical cancers, Dr. Ikeano said  that Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) was one of the major causes of cervical cancer, even as he confirmed the efficacy of HPV Vaccination in preventing cervical cancer for females between the ages of 9—26 years.

He said, "Women who do not sufficiently breastfeed their babies as supposed have higher chances of having breast cancer, while women who have multiple sex partners have higher chances of having cervical cancer. Cancers are detectable as early as possible; and early detection makes its curing easier."

"...That is why it is important that every woman regularly examines her breast and other parts of her body, both on her own and through medical screening; and to also immediately consult a medical expert each time strange signs or changes are observed, because cancer can spread to other parts of the body if not immediately treated or removed," he added.

Speaking on the objective of the event, the Director, Anambra State Library Board, Dr. Nkechi Udeze recalled that the library had once organised such cancer awareness campaign in the community in 2018, and noted that the event which falls under the Health Information Service role of the Library was aimed at reminding the people of the existence of cancer through awareness creation, as well as helping them with the necessary health tips on how to avoid and overcome the disease which has a very high mortality rate.

She appreciated an indigene of the community and philanthropist, Agbalanze RJC Arazu, who she revealed, sponsored free cervical screening conducted on all the women who participated at the event, even as she advised the women to put all they were taught at the event into practice and to always avail themselves f

of such highly educative and informative opportunity due to its enormous benefits, rather than attending only political rallies and campaigns.

On her own part, a librarian and lecturer, Mrs. Ngozi Osuchukwu described the event as laudable, as it has the participants' knowledge about cancer and its preventive strategies, among other health tips it exposed them to.

Reiterating the importance of regular screening and early detection of cancer and other sicknesses, Mrs. Osuchukwu called on other well-to-do individuals in the society to emulate Chief Arazu by keying into such wonderful programmes and sponsoring such free screening, as its numerous benefits can never be overemphasised.

In a vote of thanks, the Branch Librarian, Ihembosi Divisional Library, Mrs Kevina Madubuike, who expressed satisfaction with the turnout of the people and the outcome of the event, lauded the philanthropist, Arazu, the Anambra State Library Board and others who contributed to the success of the event, even as she called on the people of Ihembosi to always visit and use the library in the community  which she said, is always available for their service.

In a reaction, one of the participants at the event, Mrs. Justina Agbodike from Umunakwa Ihembosi, confessed that the event exposed her to many things she never knew about cancer, even as she appreciated the organisers and assured to put everything she learnt into practice and also pass the knowledge to others, as such awareness campaign should not be left for government alone.

Highpoints of the event included lecture, questions and answers on cancer, distribution of facemasks to the participants, practical demonstration of how to examine one's breast, as well as free cervical screening for the women, conducted by Pharmacist Nonye Egbuaba.

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