The Issues Of Breast Cancer In Nigeria

1616 words - 6 pages

“Mrs. Claire Anyanwu has visited her doctor everyday for the past week. She was at the convention last month. Women were encouraged to go for medical checkups. She was luckily diagnosed early enough to be treated of ‘mild breast lumps.’ It is an ailment that could lead to breast cancer. We are happy to see women respond to our awareness programs.” said Dr. Rosa Phil (1). In her article, Dr. Phil commends Mrs. Anyanwu for taking action against breast cancer as she recommends all women do the same.
The issue of breast cancer is fast becoming a major one. There is a huge hole to be filled in the area of breast cancer awareness in Nigeria. An article posted in the ‘The Daily Trust’ titled, “Breast Cancer amongst us” claims “Nigeria is one of the many places in the world where breast cancer and other life-threatening diseases are discussed in whispers, if at all discussed” (Ade, 1). According to Chukwuma Chiedozie, in his book “Cancer”, breast cancer in Nigeria can be dated back to 1974 (653). He also states it was diagnosed in 217 Nigerian women over a 4-year period, 1974 to 1978, at the University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin (653). It has been stated that breast cancer is increasing globally by the World Health Organisation (WHO) and also 69% of breast cancer cases are found in developing countries. Considering the fact that Nigeria is listed among the developing countries by the CIA world fact book, the impact of breast cancer in Nigeria should be of interest to the average Nigerian. In the year 2005, breast cancer was announced to be the leading cause of deaths from cancer amongst women in Nigeria (Ade, 1).
The arousing question would be how much Nigeria is doing about breast cancer? However, before any developed or developing country can even begin planning eradicating this devastating crisis, the people have to be fully educated about this illness. The intelligent question is how much does Nigeria as a whole know about breast cancer? And also how much is the Nigerian system doing on educating Nigerians especially women about breast cancer? The WHO also states that 40% of breast cancer cases can be prevented. Therefore, wouldn’t awareness be one of the major solutions to breast cancer? If we agree that awareness is highly important, the details of breast cancer shouldn’t be an issue only to victims of breast cancer and the health sector but the Nigerian society as a whole.
According to the general health report written by WHO on breast cancer, 18% of all breast cancer deaths worldwide are attributable to alcohol use, overweight poor daily diets and obesity and physical inactivity. This report also stated that physical inactivity was responsible for about 10% of breast cancer deaths. At this stage, the health sector comes in to play a great role. Doctors should try to emphasize the importance of exercise, healthy eating and moderate alcohol intake to all patients at hospitals. An article presented online by the WHO states:
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