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Head of Department of Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. M.Y.M. Habeebu has canvassed the need to scale up enlightenment campaign on breast cancer. The medical expert listed lack of awareness, poor infrastructure and lack of wherewithal to fight the ailment as reasons breast cancer is prevalent among the blacks. Habeebu stated this during a chat with The Guardian.
In his view, “the Caucasian or whites are more enlightened and do more screening than blacks. So, they are diagnosed early. The whites may be more at risk to breast cancer, but we have higher mortality. For blacks worldwide, the peak incident of the disease occurs 10 years earlier than the Caucasians or whites. The high rate of poverty among Africans also forestalls access to proper healthcare and early intervention compared to white women.
“Lack of awareness among black women on the risk of breast cancer leads to more harsh outcome.
The implication is that, in Caucasians, the peak incident of breast cancer occurs in post-menopausal women (women who have reached menopause) while in blacks or Africans, peak incident occurs in pre-menopausal women (women who have not reached menopause). It is more aggressive in our women due to estrogen supply, which grows the disease.
Black women have the more aggressive type known as the Triple Negative breast cancer while the white have the ER-Positive type.”
Habeebu said that to address the disparity, the government should put more money to workforce, healthcare system, campaigns and infrastructure. “Early detection is important in order to treat it early,” he counseled.