- Cancer accounts for 12.5% of deaths worldwide.
- Cancer deaths more than HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis & malaria deaths combined.
- By 2020, 15 million new cancer cases expected yearly (WHO).
- 70% of new cancer cases (~10.5 million) will occur in developing countries.
- 1 million cases expected yearly in African countries by 2020 with 500,000 cases expected in Nigeria alone.
- Breast cancer is 2nd leading cause of death among African Women.
- Late presentation is the hallmark of breast cancer and other cancers among African men & women resulting in ineffective treatment.
- 5-year cancer survival rate is 10% for Africa compared to 70% in
- developed countries.
First Case Study
Quick Facts About Nigeria Alone
- 8th most populated country in the world and #1 most populated country in Africa (~152 million people).
- Average life expectancy for Nigerian women : 48 years
- Death rate 16.31 out of every 1,000 deaths (6th highest in the world)
- Strong dependence on traditional medicine partly due to ethics but mainly due to poverty (70% of population live below poverty guidelines)
Lagos Pilot Study
- Aim: Examine reasons for high breast cancer mortality rates in Nigeria
- Focal point: Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH)
- Women diagnosed with breast cancer in Nigeria much younger than Caucasian females (less than 35 years old) .Cancer usaully diagnosed at a more advanced stage due to the gender factor and culture of silence/secrecy about Breast Cancer.
- Fear of dying combined with embarrassment, privacy, modesty & cultural taboo of self breast examination all play a role in low survival rates.
- The Stigma - Disclosure would jeopardize social standing and marriage for the family members
- The fear of mastectomy which leads to the disfigurement and physical disability and the need to keep the body intact
- Insufficient access to quality health care providers; physicians, screening technicians due to economical issues.
- And most of all, the lack of awareness on the importance of screening.
- Encourage women and men to view caring for their health as part of caring for their families
- Break the cultural belief in Africa, providing them with breast health information and awareness using communication strategy.
- With the help of other recognized breast cancer organization, facilitate community specific workshops in an understanding language.
- To try to create a communal session that involves and brings women together to talk about breast health and breaking the barrier of cultural silence.
Keys To Reducing Cancer Rates
- Reduction of tobacco consumption: It remains the most important avoidable cancer risk. In the 20th century, approximately 100 million people died world-wide from tobacco-associated diseases.
- A healthy lifestyle and diet can help. Frequent consumption of fruit and vegetables and physical activity can make a difference.
- Early detection through screening, particularly for cervical and breast cancers, allow for prevention and successful cure.
Breast Cancer Screening Recommendations
Ages 20 to 40
- Monthly breast self-examination.
- Exam by a trained professional every year.
Ages 40 and Over
- Monthly breast self-examination.
- Exam by a Medical professional every year.
- Mammogram every year after age 40.
Note: Screening recommendations are for women who do not have signs or symptoms of breast cancer. Those women who are at higher risk for breast cancer or who have breast abnormalities should ask their physician for specific guidelines.