BRECAN was founded by Mrs. Betty Anyanwu-Akeredolu in October 1997 after her experience with breast cancer. It is a not-for-profit and non-governmental organization with a mission to eliminate breast cancer as a life threatening disease in Nigeria through public education, patient support, advocacy and research. BRECAN has its headquarters in Ibadan, Oyo State with affiliates nationwide. Membership is open to all regardless of gender or socio-economic status.
Since inception, BRECAN has initiated many programmes aimed at raising breast health awareness and galvanizing action against breast cancer and cancer in general. Prominent among them are:
1. Breast Cancer Awareness Out-Reach: We target women groups, market women, young girls in secondary and tertiary institutions where breast self examination (BSE) is promoted and timely presentation of unusual signs to a doctor is emphasized.
2. World Cancer Day: The World Cancer Day comes up on February 4th of every year. Though initiated in 2005 by UICC (Union for International Cancer Control), a renowned international cancer organisation based in Switzerland and at the forefront in global fight against cancer, BRECAN has become the trailblazer in Nigeria, marking the event consistently since 2007 with the collaboration of schools mostly in Ibadan and in 2013, Oyo State Ministry of Health came on board as a partner.
3. Jog for Life: Jog for Life was initially organized every October which is the breast cancer awareness month but as the popularity is growing, it is now being organized anytime of the year upon request. It is a home-grown and fun-filled outdoor event for everyone concerned about breast cancer. It aims to raise awareness and funds, celebrate survivorship and promote exercise as a healthy life style. What started in Ibadan with less than 100 participants in 2002 when nobody wanted to be associated with breast cancer has grown to become an event that is now held in at least three cities where over 5000 dynamic and diverse participants including students register to take action against breast cancer. Apart from raising awareness, Jog for Life has been critical in fundraising for BRECAN projects as well as serving as a platform to celebrate survivorship and promote exercise as a healthy life style. In addition, Breast screening has become a component of Jog for Life in past two years. Usually a notable woman is the lead jogger. 2012 Jog for life in Lagos (Oct 13) and Ibadan (Nov. 3) were led by Her Excellencies, Dame Abimbola Fashola, wife of Lagos State Governor and Chief (Mrs) TitiLaoye-Tomori, Deputy Governor, Osun State respectively. In 2013, Jog for Life in Ibadan (Oct. 5) was led by Alhaja Zainab Alatise, wife of the Honourable Chairman, Ibadan NE Local Government while the maiden edition in Abeokuta was led by Her Excellency, Mrs Olufunso Amosun, wife of Ogun State Governor.
4. Hope Lodge @ BRECAN Centre: Established in 2010. It is a “home away from home” where breast cancer out-patients with their family members can stay while receiving treatment at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan. While it is our little way of alleviating the chronic accommodation problem faced by these individuals especially the first timers to Ibadan and the needy patients, the project obviously contributes to the socio-economic development of the immediate community where the centre situates by creating jobs and a recreational facility.
5. BRECAN Wellness Club: As part of our effort in promoting breast health education and cancer prevention through healthy living, BRECAN now has a wellness club which has the mandate to organize a breakfast aerobics programme on first Saturday of every month between 7.30 am – 10.00 am at BRECAN Centre, 18 Akinyemi Way Off Ring Road, Ibadan. The maiden edition was held on January 7, 2012 with an impressive turnout. A monthly e-newsletter is now in circulation.
6. Special Events:
a. National Breast Cancer Coalition (NBCC) Advocate Summit, Washington D.C. USA, May 5-8, 2012: With the support of Oyo State government, BRECAN sent delegates to this annual summit. The breast cancer advocacy community is animated because a deadline has been set to eradicate breast cancer by 2020. Our participation provided an opportunity to lend our voice in fashioning out how this mission can be accomplished. BRECAN is now among numerous organizations worldwide that have endorsed the deadline. Our participation in the summit has become an annual event. We are proud to be part of this conversation. To learn more, please visit www.breastcancerdeadline2020.org
b. BRECAN Anniversary and BRECAN Breast Cancer Symposium. Every five years BRECAN celebrates its effort in the fight against breast cancer in Nigeria in conjunction with an international symposium on breast cancer. The event provides us with the opportunity to assess our journey so far and bring in international experts who will share their knowledge and the advances made in delivering effective therapies for improved survival in their climes. The BRECAN 15th Anniversary and 2nd Breast Cancer Symposium was held in Ibadan, 31st October –November 3, 2012.
7. BRECAN Choir:
We have constituted a choir for kids, 7-15 years old. They are being groomed to use their young voices and dance steps to raise awareness. They are increasingly becoming advocates and avenue for reaching their parents who ordinarily will not pay attention to breast cancer. We started in 2012 an annual musical concert for charity named “Sing for Life” holding during the Christmas period. It aims to mobilize community participation in breast cancer advocacy and raise funds for BRECAN projects.