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Using advanced technology in breast cancer treatment

Gone are the days where you found women and men dying of breast cancer in developed countries. Overtime, medical scientists have been able to invent modern medical machines for diagnosing and treating breast cancer. The machines used for cancer treatment are upgraded, thereby enhancing their performance. Developed countries have upgraded to the use of a fully robotic radiotherapy device called Cyberknife for targeted treatment for breast cancer and other types of cancer. This advanced technology in medical science has brought success stories to the lives of patients and survivors. There are cases of cancer survivors celebrating as many as 30 years of surviving the disease.

Technology, according to Britannica, ‘is the application of scientific knowledge to the practical aims of human life or, as it is sometimes phrased, to the change and manipulation of the human environment.’ In essence, technology is life; it modifies and eases human activities. Technology has been used to ease human activities ranging from communications, education, transportation, medicine and so on. In as much as people see technology as a great evil, it has somewhat given people a second chance to life.

To juxtapose how modern technology has worked in diagnosing and treating breast cancer disease, there are more breast cancer survivors in developed countries because over time scientists keep making breakthroughs in medical sciences. The stage 4 breast cancer patients have chances of elongating and improving quality of life because there is access to modern medical machines. These medical technologies are accessible to all as a result of government interventions through insurance. Hence, no one has an excuse of not getting treated in the advanced countries.

African countries are beginning to wake up to technological advancement, and this advancement is noticeable in Nigeria but the major focus has solely been on Information Technology and financial technology. Despite the fact that Information Technology brings the world closer, we also have to invest in technological advancement in medicine. Even after being a survivor for seven years, I still can’t believe Nigeria has only one PETSCAN machine, owned mainly by an Indian diagnostic centre. PETSCAN machine is a medical machine that detects the tiniest of diseases in the body. We should have at least six; one each in all the geo political zones of the country. There is no need to blame individuals who have zero interest in investing in PETSCAN and other modern medical technology because it needs adequate power supply, which is still a far cry in Nigeria. Hence, technological advancement of medicine in Nigeria can’t thrive.

Breast cancer is one of the major causes of death among women in Nigeria. There are a lot of breast cancer survivors dying carelessly because they don’t have access to well-equipped diagnostic centres and they are also getting tested in outdated medical machines despite paying a lot of money using this equipment; which tells why the breast cancer survival rate is still staggering in Nigeria. Unfortunately, breast cancer patients who lost their lives are mostly the working force of the country. In developed countries, you find a lot of breast cancer patients still being productive and beneficial to the economic growth of their country. When agile women are knocked off by breast cancer due to lack of well equipped medical facilities, the country will suffer the loss of such individuals that would have contributed positively to the economy.

As the general elections are fast approaching, I will advise that whoever becomes the next President of Nigeria should have a focus or mind shift to advancement of technology in medicine by putting in place policies and structures that will enhance this advancement; also making it affordable and accessible for the average Nigerian. Till date, the only PETSCAN machine is not even affordable for a person like me from the working class community who is due for one. Also, the next administration should scrutinise diagnostic centres on the quality of technology they use so that diagnostic centre owners don’t keep buying outdated and no-longer-useful test machines into the country to test innocent Nigerians.  Good health shouldn’t be a luxury in Nigeria. It should be a necessity that is affordable.

Fakiyesi, two-time cancer survivor, can be reached via [email protected]

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