Breast Cancer in Africa

by 02/11/2012 12:28:00 0 comments 724 Views
Breast Cancer in Africa
  •     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.

Project Proposal

  •     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.