Breast cancer as in other countries have also affected women in Nigeria. There have been many women diagnosed and some survivors. Many women however are still in search for where to get breast cancer treatment in Nigeria.
We know the story of Mrs Nwabufo Chika, a breast cancer survivor for six years until Nov 2018 when the breast cancer spread to her spine and other areas.
The guardian newspaper reported that through the assistance of a non governmental organization, BWS(Breast Without Spot), she was able to receive an emergency radiotherapy at Abuja of 450,000 Naira after a magnetic resonance imagining scan had been done.
She responded to treatment but was told that she would need to continue chemotherapy treatment which would cost 40,000 Naira every week for 12 weeks. That would equal 480,000 Naira in total.
Another woman, Uchechi Nwosu, Abuja-based civil servant, observed a bloody discharge from her left breast in July 2016. She went to the hospital immediately and was asked to do a series of tests including biopsy. In December 2016, she was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer.
She went through 4 cycles of chemotherapy, and then lumpectomy surgery in March 2017. After which she did Radiotherapy from August to September 2017. She eventually received Harceptin medications from May 2017 to April 2018 due to the type of breast cancer she was diagnosed with.
As at January 2017, Harceptin was sold in Nigeria for N750,000 per bottle and she was told she needed 23 bottles of it. Fortunately by April that same year, it reduced to N560,000. She was able to pay through the assistance of family and friends and has not fully recovered.
Many others are in this same travail with Mrs Chika and Mrs Uchechi but the high cost of breast cancer treatment in Nigeria is not helping matters.
It is important that breast cancer cases are discovered quickly, but this is not the case in Nigeria as most cases cannot be diagnosed early because of the poor use of facilities for screening and the lack of awareness. Women need to be taught the signs and symptoms of breast cancer and also how to prevent it.
Radiation therapy in the our health facilities is scarce and it has led to the high cost of breast cancer treatment in Nigeria. This means poor women in Nigeria cannot afford to get treated when diagnosed.
A 2014 research reported that 500,000 new cases of breast cancer occurs in Nigeria and over 40% of women are affected. It further reported that one out of eight women with breast cancer are not up to 45 years old while 2 out of 3 are 55 years above.
The UCH, University College Hospital In Ibadan, in 2018 however said it records nothing less than 400 breast cancer cases annually.
More research however, is needed to verify the claims of this report.
Where to get breast cancer treatment in Nigeria.
Many hospitals, especially University Teaching Hospitals claim to have facilities for the treatment of breast cancer. However, from our research, we are pointing out six hospitals that we know have carried out many breast cancer treatment in Nigeria. This is not to say the other hospitals cannot treat it.
- University Of Abuja Teaching Hospital
- Lagos University Teaching Hospital
- University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital Enugu.
- University College Hospital (UCH), Ibadan
- Ahmadu Bello University Teaching Hospital, Zaria
- University of Ilorin teaching hospital, Ilorin.
- Other University teaching hospitals
Cost of breast cancer treatment in Nigeria
Free breast cancer treatment in Nigeria
Okoronkwo I L, Ejike-Okoye P, Chinweuba A U, Nwaneri A C. Financial barriers to utilization of screening and treatment services for breast cancer: An equity analysis in Nigeria. Niger J Clin Pract [serial online] 2015 [cited 2019 Nov 22];18:287-91. Available from: http://www.njcponline.com/text.asp?2015/18/2/287/151070