As breast cancer remains the commonest cancer in women in Nigeria and Ghana, accounting for 22.7 per cent and 18.7 per cent of new cancer cases in Nigeria and Ghana respectively, an oncologist with the National Radiotherapy Oncology and Nuclear Medicine Centre, Ghana, Dr. Hannah Ayettey Anie has said with better awareness, prevention, treatment, and access to diagnostics, early detection could save between 2.4 and 3.7 million lives each year globally.
At a virtual media roundtable organised by Pfizer, to mark Breast Cancer Awareness Month and Metastatic Breast Cancer Day, Anie said most women diagnosed with breast cancer do not have any signs or symptoms of the disease.
However, there are changes in the breast that some women do not notice, says the oncologist, adding that it is hard to overestimate the importance of conducting self-examination and going for regular check-ups.
“While each case is unique, age, certain genetic mutations, getting periods before age 12 or starting menopause after age 55, having dense breasts, and family history are all known risk factors. However, with better awareness, prevention, treatment, and access to diagnostics, early detection could save between 2.4 and 3.7 million lives each year globally,” she added.
Medical director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Pfizer, Dr. Kodjo Soroh, said, “At Pfizer, we remain committed to improving patients’ lives and supporting them at each step of their breast cancer experience. Across the region, patients are diagnosed with late or advanced-stage cancer at a higher incidence rate than other regions globally.
“There is a distinct need for more awareness campaigns to regularly encourage patients to check themselves for breast cancer and better understand the disease. Moreover, over the past decade, improved diagnostics, and newer treatment options for late-stage breast cancer, including those with different gene abnormalities, offer new horizons and hope for these patients.”