Breast and Cervical cancers are on the rise in Nigeria, CancerAware, a Non-Governmental Organisation, declared in Lagos on Thursday.
Its founder, Tolu Falowo, told newsmen that delayed diagnoses had led to disastrous outcomes for many of the afflicted, especially the poor.
“In Nigeria, about 50 per cent of women who develop breast cancer present with Stage 4 (metastatic) disease at diagnosis.
“Dealing with metastatic breast cancer presents many challenges for the person diagnosed, for their caregivers and for the medical team.
“Indigent and low-income individuals facing cancer diagnosis do not have good outcomes.
“There are several reasons for this. They include poverty, ignorance, cultural beliefs, inadequate referral systems, and inadequate diagnoses.
“Other reasons are fear of diagnoses, ill-trained health workers, lack of national cancer screening programmes and a dearth of well-equipped treatment centres,’’ Ms Falowo said.
She lamented inadequate funding to help indigent patients to settle huge costs of treatment and said this had resulted in their abandonment in most cases.
Ms Falowo also expressed regret that Nigeria did not have a national cancer screening programme to help with prevention and early detection.
She said that resulting from this, CancerAware and a group of medical experts dealing with body tumours developed the MobiPINK Metastatic Breast Cancer project in 2019 to spread the knowledge about metastatic breast cancer.
She said that the essence was to improve the quality of life of patients in addition to providing resources and support for caregivers in the course of the patients’ treatment.
Ms Falowo said the battle against cancers “mustn’t end at awareness; action must follow; women must do their breast checks monthly and annually.
“Women aged 40 years and above should have a mammogram each year.
“If there is a history of breast cancer in the family, they should speak to their doctors about starting personalised early breast cancer screening.’’