Dr Adefemi Afolabi, a Surgeon at the University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan, has urged students to be watchful of their early stage in lives and conscious of dangers of late detection and treatment of breast cancer.
Afolabi made the plea at a Breast Cancer Awareness Programme organised by Femi and Dupe Kayode Foundation, an NGO, on Friday for students of Oritamefa Baptist Model School, Ibadan.
According to him, the awareness programme is to teach the basic principles of “Know Your Breast” (KYB), which is a step-by-step self-breast examination procedure.
Afolabi said that one out of 10 people with breast lumps has breast cancer, while the remaining nine people have breast lumps that were non-cancerous.
He said that the decision on whether a lump was cancerous or not could only be determined when the person seeks early medical assistance.
The surgeon said that men could also develop breast cancer, pointing out that the frequency would be one out of 100 cases of breast cancer.
He added that developing countries like Nigeria were approaching the cancer risk level of the developed countries due to westernisation of its lifestyle like diets.
He said that major challenges in the treatment of breast cancer in the developing countries was late detection and presentation for treatment, which had contributed to a higher deaths rate.
Afolabi then, urged Nigerians to take note of risk factors for breast cancer, including hereditary, menstruation pattern, age, diet, breast feeding pattern, pregnancy, body size, alcohol intake and exposure to special radiation, among others.
“Breast cancer is extremely rare before age 20, relatively uncommon before age 30, rise rapidly with age till about 50 and begin to less after 50.
“Long span of reproductive life of the female may be a risk, because early onset of menstruation, short menstrual cycle, ovulatory infertility and late cessation of menstruation serve as risk factors for breast cancer.
“Young age at first pregnancy predicts lower lifetime risk, delayed first pregnancy increases the risk of breast cancer and never getting pregnant increases the risk,”
The medical expert advised mothers that adequate breast feeding of a baby serves as protective against breast cancer.
Afolabi, however, cautioned them against the use of unprescribed postmenopausal hormones, oral contraceptive, spontaneous and induced abortions that could promote breast cancer.
He said that breast cancer could be treated with drug treatment, surgical operations, radiation treatment, psycho-social treatment and end of life care.
“The Monthly Breast Self-Examination (BSE) for people of age before 20, Clinical Breast Examination (CBE) every three years for people between the age 20 and 39 years, annual CBE at the age of 40 years and above.
“A baseline mammography should be done between 35 and 40 years, then, every two to three years between 40 and 49 years and annual for people above 50,”
The expert said.
One of the students at the awareness programme, Ebamiyo Sobola, a senior secondary school student, said that the programme taught him that men too could have breast cancer and best way to look for it symptoms during self-breast examination.
In the same vein, Ayonitemi Dotun, also a student, said that the awareness programme had taught her that not all breast lumps were cancerous.
WITHIN NIGERIA reports that the awareness programme featured basic training on self- breast examination, lecture, questions and answers, among