Giving Birth To Twins, Early Menopause Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer - Prof Agboola - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Giving Birth To Twins, Early Menopause Lower Risk Of Breast Cancer - Prof Agboola

... Says: 3.4million Nigerian cancer Patients Have No Access To Radiotherapy 

                      •Prof. Deji Agboola

The Daily Crucible | Published Wednesday, November 3, 2021

By Adekunle Mariam,  Abeokuta

A professor of cancer pathology, Prof. Ayodeji Agboola, has identified giving birth to a pair of twins and early experience of menopause as non - genetic factors that lower women's risks of developing  breast cancer. .

Citing a study carried out in 2007 by Ji  et al, Agboola said any woman who delivers twins before age 30 has a lower risk of developing breast  cancer compared to her counterpart with singleton at birth, stressing that in Nigeria, it was also reported that having parity(pair of twins) was negatively associated with breast cancer risk. 

According to the don, this was attributed to reduction in cumulative exposure of the breast to endogenous hormones associated with development of breast cancer in some cases. 

The professor made this known while delivering the 99th Inaugural lecture of the Olabisi Onabanjo University, Ago - Iwoye,  Ogun State,  on Tuesday, adding that women who attained menopause early in life were less likely to develop breast cancer compared with women of the same age group but still in their pre-menopausal stage. 

Agboola who doubles as the Deputy Vice Chancellor (academic) of the University,  noted that a study carried out by him and others in 2012 also revealed that there were more women in their presentation stage among Nigerian women with breast cancer compared with the Caucasians that had predominantly women in post - menopausal stage. 

He explained that poverty, lack of empowerment, uneven access to healthcare, literacy level and inadequate infrastructure for cancer treatment and management, combined to levy heavy burden on breast cancer patient and relatives in Nigeria. 

Delivering his lecture titled, 'Unraveling Breast Cancer Mortality In Nigeria: Pains and Prospects,' he listed age, family history of breast cancer patient, exposure to infection and infestations, sexual behaviour, occupation, alcohol intake, smoking, exposure to chemical agents, weight, height and nutritional status as other non - genetically factors associated with breast cancer. 

Agboola also fingered immunity, metabolism of carcinogens and drugs, one's ancestors, sex, strong predisposition to cancer and repair of genetic damage as inherited factors associated with breast cancer.

••• Treatment Options

He identified chemotherapy, hormonal therapy, immunotherapy, targeted therapy, surgery and stem cell transplant as treatment options.

The oncologist said that lack of basic healthcare facility should be blamed for the increasing mortality rate of cancer  patients in Nigeria, lamenting that 3.4million  out of 4 million cancer patients  have access to radiotherapy facilities in the country. 

Agboola also lamented the poor attitude of Nigerian women to breast self-examination and presentation to hospital for treatment, saying this often leads to delay in diagnosis, late presentation at the clinic and poor outcome of treatment. .

He said: "Out of 4 million patients in Nigeria that need radiotherapy, only 15 percent was reported to have access to the facilities. 

"Patients with breast cancer in Nigeria are faced with huge financial burden. The World Health Organisation (WHO) raised the alarm in 2014, when 95.4 percent of the out-of-pocket expenditure for health care was reported for Nigeria. Many years later, nothing much has changed in this country.

"Most of the public hospitals are overcrowded with lack of human resources and this prolongs the waiting period and consequently increases the mortality rate in addition to untold pains imposed on the patients.

"The out-of-pocket expenditure is the main reason why patients with breast cancer discontinue treatments. In Nigeria, only 17.4 percent of the patients with breast cancer receive neo-adjuvant chemotherapy compared to 86 percent in the United State.

•••Reducing Breast Cancer Mortality 

Among the things he suggested for reducing breast cancer and the associated mortality in Nigeria, included regular exercise,  continuous enlightenment on breast self - examination and adequate funding of research on breast cancer. 

"Meaningful cancer prevention and management can only be based on strategic research activities and implementation of the findings. 

"There is also a significant shortage of cancer registries and trained cancer registry personnel.

"There should be fund dedicated to the enhance postgraduate research at the community level though the establishment of community-based cancer registry.

"The political will of government officials to formulate and implement better policies in the health sector will go a long way in contributing to the reduction in mortality rate," he said. 

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