The acquisition of an Automated Breast Ultrasound, ABUS, device by Care Organisation Public Enlightenment, C.O.P.E. in partnership with GE HealthCare, has offered hope to Nigerian women who might fall into the category of the 40% of women with dense breasts.
According to research, ABUS is transforming breast care from reactive to proactive and helping to detect breast cancers in dense tissue.
“Clinical studies have demonstrated that ultrasound can detect tiny, node-negative, aggressive tumours that mammography misses. It is intended for use in the screening setting, specifically for dense breast imaging.”
The Chief Executive Officer of COPE, Mrs. Ebun Anozie, said the procurement of the technology is targeted at scanning at least 200 women monthly and no fewer than 2,000 women yearly.
Speaking during the official launch in Lagos, CEO of COPE said: “Do you know what this will do to a lot of women who come to us? It will enhance our screening. It will help us detect breast cancer early and we will be able to reach out to more women. This is the A game. It is going to help a lot of women, not forgetting the fact that men also have breast cancer, one in 100. It’s just that it is higher in women than men because we have breasts.
We screen every third Saturday of every month. But, we have attended to about 100 persons before in one day because we have four machines and this is the fifth one. Women come here every third Saturday of the month from 10 am to 2 pm. ordinarily, it costs about N15,000 to go for screening. Here, our partners have made it free. What we want is to mitigate the mortality rate of breast cancer in Nigeria. We don’t need to die. Screening is the game because when something is detected early and treatments are given early, there is a high chance of surviving cancer.”
Also speaking during the launch, the Chairman, Board of Trustees, C.O.P.E, Professor Frank Giwa-Osagie, said, “It’s been established that the chances of survival or cure in cancer depend heavily on early diagnosis and appropriate treatment. It is only when you diagnose that you can start treating, so any technology that can be applied to ensure accurate early diagnosis is a major step forward in cancer management. This ABUS technology is an advanced ultrasound for scanning the breast. It’s a major advancement not only for C.O.P.E but for women generally.
We are very happy and grateful that we have this machine now in Lagos, and we are planning to scan at least 2,000 women per year. The whole procedure of scanning takes only 20 minutes and it is not inconvenient at all to the woman.”
Also, Group Head, Strategic Brand Management, Mr Nduneche Ezurike, said: “Cancer ravages every family directly or indirectly. It is something that you are better off preventing than to cure. Historically, it predates the current-day Polaris Bank. For us as an organisation, it is ultimately about humanity. Health is an enterprise goal and we are focused on it in different ways. Having a state-of-the-art machine improves C.O.P.E’s capacity to do more in terms of reach and impact. This machine totally changes the game for them and it would help in attaining the objective, which is to reach as many women as possible.”