Cancer in Nigerian Women: A Critical Need for Prevention Strategy
Cancer in Nigeria is assuming an alarming proportion. Recent public awareness on common female cancer such as breast, cervix, liver etc has shown an upsurge of cancer in women. This study aims to describe common cancers in Nigerian women and highlight strategy for cancer prevention. All records of histologically confirmed cancers were analyzed from the cancer registry in the department of Pathology, Jos University Teaching Hospital, between the periods of 1985 and 2004 (20 years). The cost of screening common cancer in women was also noted. There were a total of 5606 cases of confirmed cancers. Out of these numbers 3503 (62.5%) accounted for cancers in women. The average peak age prevalence was in 5th and 6th decades. The common cancers were breast, cervix, liver, non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma and colorectal cancers. Breast and cervical cancers accounted for 74% of all female malignancies. The cost of screening for breast and cervical cancer was $150 each. In a country like Nigeria with per capita income of less than $1 per day, most patients could not afford the cost. Preventive measures directed at these two most common female cancers could significantly reduce cancer morbidity and mortality.
Key words: Women, Cancer, Breast, Cervix.