Level of awareness and knowledge of breast cancer in Nigeria. A systematic review
Background: Despite reports of improved awareness of breast cancer entity and seemingly upbeat levels of other awareness subthemes in Nigeria, patients continue to present late when treatment is least rewarding. This paradoxical trend of both rising awareness and late presentation coupled with reports suggesting other competing drivers of late presentation question the “theory of poor awareness” as the foremost driver of late presentations. By aggregating available data, we aimed to assess what still constitutes poor breast cancer awareness in Nigeria in order to suggest how to allocate resources to reverse the paradox
Method: Studies conducted on Nigerian populace from 2000 to date were reviewed systematically. Search was made in PROSPERO, PubMed/MEDLINE, AJOL, Cochrane library, GOOGLE, ResearchGate and ACADEMIA. Primary outcome was level of awareness about breast cancer entity.
Result: Fifty-one eligible (48 descriptive surveys, 3 interventional ones) studies were reviewed. They included 19,598 respondents (98.5% females; 43% rural dwellers). 17,086(87.2%) were laypersons in various walks of life; 2,512(12.8%) were healthcare professionals. There were high levels of awareness of breast cancer entity, BSE, knowledge of fatality and benefit of early detection (weighted percentages 80.6%, 60.1%, 73.2% and 73.9% respectively). Weighted percentages of knowledge of symptoms/signs was 45.1%. Weighted percentages of sense of susceptibility and performance of BSE were low-26.8% and 22.9% respectively. Generally, rate of performance of screening did not vary with changes in the level of awareness/knowledge of concepts.
Conclusion: In general, low awareness of breast cancer may not be the direct and foremost driver of persistent late presentation in Nigeria.
Keywords: Breast cancer, awareness, knowledge, Systematic review, Nigeria