Why Screen: Screening can detect the pre-cancer stages of breast abnormalities which is why early detection is key and screening is important.
What are the benefits of screening:
- Simple, easy-to-do.
- Cheaper than cure.
- The screening takes less than 5 minutes.
- Screening results are available immediately.
Breast Abnormalities and What To Do
A lady with a breast abnormality such as a breast lump, a recent change in breast size or shape; bloody nipple discharge, a lump in the armpit or above the collarbone, constant breast pain, inward pulling of the nipple (nipple inversion) or any other breast complaints should see a doctor immediately.
(IF YOU HAVE A BREAST COMPLAINT OR ABNORMALITY; book an appointment to meet a specialist at the TimeToScreen Clinic)
In Nigeria, there are doctors who specialize in treating women with breast abnormalities. These doctors are called general surgeons (breast surgeons).
To make a diagnosis of breast cancer, a doctor will perform the following tests (triple assessment)
- Clinical Breast Examination. The doctor will examine your breasts and lymph nodes in your armpit, feeling for any lumps or other abnormalities.
- Mammogram: A diagnostic mammogram is an X-ray of the breast that gives more details on the breast lump and other abnormalities.
- Breast ultrasound: A breast ultrasound produces images of what is within the breast. The result of this test may then be used to determine whether a new breast lump is a solid mass or a fluid-filled cyst.
- Biopsy: There is a popular saying that all breast lumps are suspicious until proven otherwise. A biopsy is the only test that can confirm whether a lump is benign or cancerous. It is the only definitive way to make a diagnosis of breast cancer. During a biopsy, your doctor will use a specialized needle device guided by X-ray or ultrasound to extract some tissue from the abnormal area. The samples extracted are then sent to a laboratory for analysis where experts determine whether the cells are cancerous, benign or just normal breast cells. This test is called Histopathology. If the lump is cancerous A Histo-pathologist may also determine the stage, grade and the hormone receptors present.
- Note that other tests and/or procedures may be required depending on your clinical condition.
WHAT TO DO?
If the Histo-Pathology report confirms the breast abnormality to be cancerous, you should be referred to a breast cancer clinic that has a team of cancer specialists or Multi-disciplinary Tumour Team (MDT). An MDT is made up of Radiologist, Radiation-Oncologist, Medical Oncologist, Brest Surgeons, Histo-pathologists, and Nurses etc.
Your specific treatment plan is determined by your MDT. It is individualized and your MDT determines this from several treatment options based on your type of breast cancer, its stage, and grade and whether the cancer cells are responsive to hormones. Also, your doctors consider your overall state of health to choose your plan.
A list of treatment options available may include:
- Hormone therapy
FOR CONSULTATION, TREATMENT AND SUPPORT, BOOK AN APPOINTMENT WITH THE “AMAZON SURVIVORSHIP CLINIC”;
To LEARN MORE ABOUT BREAST CANCER AND HOW TO COPE, download a free e-copy of “The Informed Amazon” book
TO UNDERSTAND AVAILABLE CANCER RESOURCES AND NAVIGATE CANCER CARE IN NIGERIA, download the Sebeccly Cancer App
LIVING WITH BREAST CANCER
Tips for Staying Healthy:
Staying healthy after treatment of breast cancer is as important as before treatment. Here’s a list referenced from John’s Hopkins University, a worldwide leading institute for education and research, to help you stay healthy and prevent recurrence.
1) Emotional Stability
Your physical strength is driven by your emotional strength. Emotional stability is the state of being mentally stable in your thoughts, feelings and actions.
Below are some tips to stay stable emotionally.
- Always put your needs first
- Attend a support group
- Stay informed about new breast cancer research
- Consider psychotherapy and/or antidepressants if warranted; if you’re taking tamoxifen, check with your oncologist to ensure the prescribed antidepressant does not interfere with your endocrine treatment
- Communicate with your doctor about fears or concerns
- Volunteer or become a breast cancer advocate
2) Adequate Physical Care
Cancer treatment can be overwhelming and as a breast cancer patient/survivor, difficulty can be experienced in taking proper care of the physical appearance.
Below are some tips to help improve your physical care.
- Exercise regularly
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Reduce stress
- Eat healthily
- Limit alcohol consumption
- Keep up with all scheduled screenings
- Quit smoking
- Report any physical changes to either your oncologist or primary care provider
- Seek treatment for lymphedema if you experience signs
3) Get rid of stress
As a breast cancer survivor, your life has probably been filled with stress for some time now. The good news is that life will eventually calm down for you and your family. That does not mean the stress with coping with being a breast cancer survivor in combination with life’s everyday stress will not be a challenge. Finding ways to limit or cope with stress has been shown to improve overall survival. Just as every woman’s body is different, so is her ability to cope with stress. It is important that you find practical ways to cope with stress that work for you and your lifestyle.
Some helpful techniques for relieving stress include:
- Support groups
- Mental health counselling
- Exploring your creative abilities (such as painting, drawing or ceramics)
- physical therapy(massage, Acupuncture, Meditation and deep breathing exercises)
- Energy healing (such as Reiki)
- Guided imagery
- Take a cancer vacation to celebrate how far you have come
- Discover new connections (such as religious/spiritual groups, reconnecting with friends, or new hobbies)
- Be patient in finding your “new normal”
- Reflect on the meaning of cancer and the experiences it has brought into your life—both good and bad
- Find strength in your “wounds”
If stress or depression seems to be impacting your overall quality of life, speak to your doctor.
The Informed Amazon Book
Gift of Survivorship:
G – God’s Promise (Psalm 23 KJV)
“The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures; he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul; he leadeth me in the path of righteousness for his name’s sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil:
for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies: thou anointed my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me, all the days of my life: and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever and ever
I – Information
Information is knowledge, Knowledge is power.
F – Food & Fruits
We flourish and nurture what you eat is what you are; your body is nourished by what you eat, eat a balanced diet
Life is much easier with love and support from friends and family
T – Treatment
Orthodox Cancer Treatment remains the gold standard of care.
Chemotherapy, Surgery, Radiotherapy, Hormone-therapy, Target-therapy should be delivered by a cancer specialist
Amazon Survivorship Clinic:
The ASC is a multi-disciplinary clinic that provides consultation, counseling, treatment (chemotherapy, surgery), follow-up care and support services for Breast & Cervical cancer patients. We also provide home-based treatment services and palliative care. Our services are carried out by leading oncologists and cancer experts.
The goal of our team is to help and guide your care throughout your cancer journey.
Our outpatient-centred approach will guide you through your diagnosis, testing, treatment and follow-up care.
You will work very closely with the following cancer doctors and other cancer professionals:
- Clinical Oncologist
- Radiation Oncologist
- Breast Surgeons
- General practitioners
- Palliative care physicians
- Oncology Nurses
Clinic Hours: Tuesdays and Wednesdays 10 am – 4 pm (these days should be left open for just ASC)
Location: NUT HOUSE, 29, -Commercial Avenue, Sabo Yaba.
What To Expect:
Test: you will be required to come with a referral letter from a doctor that had treated you previously (if any) and the entire test you have done. You may need to have more tests done if any of our doctors require it.
Treatment Plan: based on your clinical examinations, investigations and fitness, a treatment plan will be designed and explained to you. Your treatment plan will explain each treatment you will receive, when you will receive it, why you are receiving it and how we are going to monitor your response. We will only proceed with your treatment with your consent.
During Treatment: you will be seen by our doctors and nurses. All treatment will be administered in Sebeccly Cancer Care, while radiotherapy and surgical services will be done with our partner hospitals.
Patient Education Classes: during and after treatment, our cancer experts will host a class every month to educate patients and their family on cancer, chemotherapy, coping with side effects, etc information about these classes will be provided when the decision for treatment is made.
Support Group Meetings: you will be invited to join our cancer survivorship meetings where long-term survivors and newly diagnosed patients share their experiences.
Appointment Booking: To book an appointment for consultation, treatment or any other services, kindly do so online
Emergencies During Clinic hours (10 am – 4 pm): to report a symptom or side effect, e.g.; bleeding, breathlessness, severe vomiting, pain, please call the clinic at this number (TimeToScreen Number).
Emergencies After Clinic Hours: if you experience an emergency after clinic hours, please go to the nearest emergency centre.
Home-based Care: for patients who require home-based care such as wound dressing, chemotherapy, and other nursing services; kindly inform the nurse.
Recovery Care Product: the amazon survivorship clinic has a stock of breast prosthesis, mastectomy bras, wigs and post-surgery kits. You will be informed about what is available during your treatment plan
Free Transportation: Sebeccly Cancer Care provides free Transportation from the clinic to the patient’s home.
Navigating Cancer Care (cc sebeccly cancer app).
The Oncopadi App is a mobile and web application (APP) which will provide real-time information, video consultations, resources and health deals. The Oncopadi App will support a patient’s journey.
Oncopadi is poised to disrupt the bureaucratic access to cancer information and cancer care. Some of its features are novel and will promote action to screen and bring immediate psychosocial relief to the app’s client.
Oncopadi is a 1st of its kind in the cancer space and even in healthcare in Nigeria that would provide very easy access to the information, quick access to the healthcare and guidance to prompt evaluation and treatment at one’s fingertip.
Oncopadi is focused on providing a portal for easy exploring in the cancer space and guided navigation which will empower the general public and cancer patients to make informed decisions towards cancer prevention, early detection, treatment and survivorship care.