Why Women Should Not Die of Cancer – Adenike Lamai

The ravaging surge of cancer on today’s women truly calls for concern. The increase in death toll has however been traced to ignorance on the part of many, who boast that they can never fall victim but fail to take necessary precautionary measures.
To stem the tide of this killer disease, the founder and President of Hadassah Healing Foundation, Pastor Adenike Lamai wants women to be proactive, especially when it comes to the issue of their health. While sponsoring a free breast/cervical cancer screening exercise for women in Lagos, she stressed the need for increased awareness amongst Nigerian women so they can be better equipped to fight the noxious scourge. Excerpts-

I must commend your commitment towards the wellbeing of Nigerian women.  Would you like to tell us what informed your decision to sponsor a free cancer screening exercise for our women?
Cancer is a common disease ravaging the lives of women today. For me, there is enough awareness as far as breast cancer screening is concerned. For cervical cancer screening, a lot of women don’t know what it is all about.  We have been told that cervical cancer is the third largest killer amongst women today, and yet people don’t know much about it. Many NGOs are talking about it but it came up at Hadassah because I feel the awareness is not enough. I know how women die daily, basically because they are ignorant. It is so painful because this is a unique form of cancer that has cure. All other cancers spread fast once it starts and there is no cure for it but for cervical cancer, once it is detected early, there is cure for it. So why won’t I join others to lend a voice? Unlike other cancers, it doesn’t show. It has symptoms but they are very negligible.  It doesn’t show until it has really eaten deep into the patient’s body. I actually started with the church; I took about 25 women for screening and one out of them turned positive. Here was a woman you never could have thought had it, after all, it doesn’t show on faces. The doctor was so thankful that she came at that time and it was detected early. She could just have died suddenly.
So, what is do you have in the offing?
We are actually partnering with another group, Optimal Cancer Care Foundation. They have been wonderful. I want to say without them, we would not have been able to put this program together. It is quite expensive going to the private hospital for screening. When I did my own screening, it was N15, 000. How many women can afford that amount, just for one screening, not to talk of both cervical and breast cancer screening? That means we are talking about N25, 000 or more per person.
Hadassah Healing Foundation seems to focus on both physical and spiritual healing. Unfortunately, many of your targeted audience are indigent women, who are barely struggling to survive. Even if some of them test positive today, they can’t afford the treatment. So, what happens after the free screening exercise?
Yes! Hadassah is a totally faith-based NGO.  We combine both the physical and the spiritual because the Bible says faith without works is dead. Again, you can only pray on what you know about. We are not in the Dark Age. If you are trusting God for healing, the question is- healing of what? The Bible says in 3rd John verse 2 “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health, even as thy soul prospereth.” At Hadassah Healing Foundation, we believe in miracles but you can only believe in miracles for what you know about.  There are lots of things people, especially Christians take for granted. We over-spiritualize things. Nothing stops you from going for health checks. I stand to be corrected but that is my take on health issues.
A professor of medicine at LUTH once said that for most of the cervical cancer patients in their wards, there is practically nothing the hospital can do for them because most of them came late, when the disease had reached its peak.
Of course, she is right. A lot of women are unaware of the killer disease. That is why we are screaming now for women to come for screening. Even the educated people, who are supposed to be better enlightened, treat the matter with levity. Unfortunately, once it reaches a particular stage, it cannot be cured again. The most painful thing is that of all cancers, cervical cancer is the only one that can be curtailed. At the moment, the awareness is low; over eighty percent of Nigerian women don’t even know about it. The government is very slow about it, hence the need for both NGOs and faith-based organizations to rise up and help. Satan uses our faith as a smoke screen to cheat us from getting necessary awareness and test. So, this is the time for the church to take the lead in saving lives through enlightenment and support. Jesus came to give us life more abundantly.

How would you rate an average Nigerian woman today?
I would say that Nigerian women are rising to the occasion. Gone are those days when women were so timid and fearful. An average Nigeria woman today is confident. Women are actually rising. They no longer want to be confined to the kitchen or home. An average Nigeria woman today knows that she has a calling, that she is relevant and that she has to do something to give back to her society.

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