Risk Factors for Breast Cancer in Nigeria

  • J Ashindoitiang
  • CC Anunobi


Various reports have shown that there is an increase in the incidence of breast cancer in Nigeria which can not be accounted for by increased awareness. To asses the risk factors for breast cancer in Lagos, Nigeria and to compare these with the rest of the world. This was a descriptive prospective study involving the use of an interview-administered semi-structured questionnaire. Patients who presented at the breast clinic of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Railway Hospital Lagos and Motayo Hospital Lagos with histological diagnosis of breast cancer between January 2002 and June 2004 were included in the study. Eighty patients (females= 79; male= 1) were studied. The age range was 25-86 years with a modal age bracket of 30-50 years. Majority (47.9%) of the patients were traders and 85% were married. Seventy five percent were overweight while 52 (83.9%) accepted increased intake of high carbohydrate and protein diet. Majority (65.4%) had tertiary education, 86.3% earn 200,000 naira (USD 1,500) and below yearly, 81.3% do not drink alcohol and only one patient smokes. Most (80%) were para 3 and above, 67.5% had menarche at 14 years while 37.2% of the menopausal patients attained menopause at the age of 46-50 years. Sixty four percent carried first full term pregnancy at 25 years and above, all patients breastfed their children while 50% use oral contraceptives. Female gender, high intake of carbohydrate and fat, age at first pregnancy, early menarche, overweight and poor
physical activity may be cardinal factors in the aetiology of breast cancer in our environment.

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