Lighting Lagos pink! Patient group collaborations making all the difference in Nigeria
When breast cancer is caught early, before it has spread to other parts of the body, treatment can be given to remove the cancer and to stop it returning. In many developing countries, including Nigeria, women diagnosed with breast cancer do not survive for long because their cancer is diagnosed too late. To help combat this problem, Roche Nigeria has been collaborating with patient advocacy groups in Lagos to increase awareness of breast cancer symptoms, and to encourage women to perform self-examinations, so that they may detect signs of the disease and seek treatment much earlier.
What we’re doing
Roche supported patient advocacy group Sebeccly Cancer Care with their 2014 Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM) campaign, “Light Lagos Pink”, which saw major landmarks in Nigeria illuminated with pink lights, including the iconic National Arts Theatre. The campaign aimed to remind people in Lagos about the importance of early detection of breast cancer and how to recognise its signs and symptoms. A launch event was held to kick-start the “Light Lagos Pink” campaign, during which the popular “Nollywood” actress, Chioma Akpotha, performed a cancer patient monologue. The actress was also featured on billboards to raise breast cancer awareness and inform the public on how to carry out self- breast examinations.
Roche also supported Sebeccly’s “5 C’s” campaign, which aimed to raise awareness for breast and cervical cancer among young females. The 5 C’s stand for ‘Cancer awareness’, ‘Character’, ‘Compass of life’, ‘Caring for others’ and ‘ABC of sex’. Breast cancer awareness jingles were developed by the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health and were aired in some of Nigeria’s main languages, English, Pidgin, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba.
In addition, Roche helped the Ibadan Multidisciplinary Breast Cancer Tumour Board with their annual breast cancer awareness campaign, held at the University of Ibadan, by providing campaign t-shirts, caps, pink ribbons and flyers.
The Light Lagos Pink event provided information to over 1 million people in Lagos via cancer information booths, community events and expert publications. Collaboration with breast cancer advocacy groups has improved awareness and reiterated the importance of self-examination. This is helping women in Nigeria to detect breast cancer sooner, increasing the chances of cure, and ultimately, decreasing the burden of disease in the country.