A new documentary, Tufiakwa (God Forbid): Witnessing A Breast Cancer Journey” , produced by a non- governmental organisation based in Lagos, Lilly Women’s Health and Graphe Productions Ltd, with support from the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Culture and Tourism was premiered last Sunday at John Glover Hall, Lagos Island.
The documentary encourages women to pay more attention to their body especially their breast and that breast cancer is not a death sentence but women can overcome it.
The documentary directed by Mr Adelaja Adebayo and produced by Dr. Lilian Ebuoma, Diagnostic Radiologist and Founder, Lilly Women’s Health Breast Care Centre examines the journey of two survivals of breast cancer and how regular breast cancer screening and early presentation made one of them breast cancer-free within a year. The documentary also featured discussions and interviews from specialist doctors and consultants in the field.
The documentary “Tufiakwa, Witnessing The Breast Cancer Journey”, is about the true life experiences of two women from different strata in the society.
Founder, Lilly Women’s Health Ebuoma and executive producer, said “I always tell people if you say ‘Tufiakwa’, God forbid, I am not going to get cancer, what happens when you get it?
“In our culture, we have this fatalistic attitude. We see breast cancer as a death sentence, which is not true, it is just how we think. “People tend to propagate wrong information about cancer. Aside from cultural beliefs that make people not to go for breast cancer screening, fear also plays a major role for late presentation. “At Lilly Women Health, we want more women to do screening, we want to save their lives as much as they want to,” she said.
“ I was was inspired to do the documentary because of the increasing number of women in Nigeria living with the disease unknown to them only to present themselves when it is too late. The documentary, she said, is to create awareness and to dispel the myths about breast cancer. Stating further she said, “Breast cancer is a common cancer in the world, each woman that dies leaves two maternal orphans and that continues to propagate recycle of poverty in society. The problem now is why do people present late? In countries where they have screening labs and good treatments, there is high rate of survival. But it is different here in Nigeria; there is late presentation here because of different reasons; cultural beliefs and poor facilities.
Dr. Mrs. Ibijoke Sanwo-Olu, wife of Lagos State Governor, who was represented by
Dr. Olufunmilola Mojoyinola said the prevalence of breast cancer in Nigeria to lack of awareness and late presentation as she admonished women to go for regular screening.
“Lagos state government is implementing a statewide free breast and cervical cancer screening and treatment for women. It is intended to drastically flatten the curve of cancer prevalence in our state. More awareness and advocacy need to be done so that the three preventable cancers – breast, cervical and prostate cancer – for men will remain prevented. Cancer must never be seen as death sentence if detected early,” she said.
Adelaja Adebayo, director of the documentary, said the project took two years to complete and because of the fear of stigmatization, a lot of people were afraid to tell their stories.