It is now no longer news that breast cancer is a major killer among women and the leading female cancer in the world; it is also no longer news that an increasing number of Nigerian women are developing breast cancer.

Gone are the days when one can shrug off cancer as an ‘oyinbo’ (western) disease.

The best way to fight cancer is to prevent it, but if one cannot prevent it, the next best is to catch it early as the chances of cure due to early intervention are very high.

To catch breast cancer early, one must do a breast self examination. However,
according to this study Nigerian women would rather not do a breast self examination.

Out of 495 women aged between 31 and 41 years interviewed, only a meagre 24.4% have ever performed breast self examination while only 5.3% perform breast self examination monthly as recommended, that comes to 26 out of 495 women! An alarming statistic, why is this?

As usual, the number one reason was ‘it is not my portion’, meaning they have no reason to be at risk or even think of being at risk. Equal to this were those that have no idea how self examination is done. The few that were aware were the highly educated women.

So what can be done to remedy this?
First is to go into the communities and teach these women.
Breast self examination should be taught in antenatal classes.
The mass media should be massively employed.
NGOs and charity organizations are also invaluable.

So what are your views on breast self examination?

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  1. I examined my breasts as a young thing in my twenties and found a lump L axilla, same removed and biopsied – luckily benign. Later found one in my breast with the same outcome.
    The consultant asked of me why I examined my breasts and I informed I had read of the need to do same in a Sunday newspaper – this was met with scorn. Due to his manner I rarely examine them now, childish response I know, but I don't.
    That said, it is wise to examine our breasts. I hold no stead in mammograms due to over-diagnosis.
    Lovely to see you posting again Dr E!
    Anna :o]

  2. Thank you Anna, I applaud you for being so brave, some people would rather not know and wish it away. I completely share your sentiments about over diagnosis. I'm trying to write again, hope I can sustain it.

  3. Very true.. However I'm a bit disappointed in the fact that your post did not include instructions on how to do a self examination. I would have probably done it right then and there had it been included with the post.

    Food for thought in your next post – idk if it's welcome.

  4. Thank you Mikki, I should have written how it's done, I apologise, was trying to keep the article short and about the study. Maybe I will edit it and put a link to a site where it is properly explained. Many thanks.

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