Owing to its high incidence and malignancy, breast cancer is today the most common type of cancer, as it affects many women. A study published by the National Library of Medicine reports that Nigeria has a higher proportion of young females with breast cancer than in developed countries.
In 2023, Dr. Adeniji Adeoluwa, a chief medical director at MeCure Healthcare, raised the alarm that around 23 percent of Nigerian women suffer from breast cancer, with 140,000 people susceptible to the disease every year.
Among the many symptoms listed by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, lumps are regarded as a major indication of the disease. A lump is pea-sized growth or mass that forms in the breast tissues or underarms (armpits). However, the majority of breast lumps are not life-threatening, as only 1 out of 10 lumps in the breasts are cancerous.
Teenage and Young Women having Breast lumps
Dr Usha Anenga, a specialist in gynecology, advised that young women should become educated about their breasts to conduct regular examinations on the breast, which is one of the most sensitive areas of their body, by themselves.
He said fibrocystic changes, otherwise known as unusual growths, are the lumps that can be surgically removed. Some may even disappear by themselves.
“Younger women are more prone to developing breast lumps. When they are discovered and surgery is performed, the problem is resolved when the lumps are noncancerous. However, further treatment may be necessary when the lumps are cancerous,” Dr. Anenga said. He stressed that patients were usually treated on an individual basis.
Contraceptives may contribute subtly to Breast issues
An analysis of data by researchers at Oxford Population Health’s Cancer Epidemiology Unit has shown that use of progestogen-only hormonal contraceptives is associated with a 20–30% higher risk of breast cancer. However, this analysis confirmed that the likelihood is not high.
“If you have a breast lump for those that are sensitive to hormones, oral contraceptives can make the breast lumps bigger. However, contraceptives are also protective of some other cancers like ovarian cancer,” Dr. Anenga told Prime Progress.
In addition to regular breast examinations, the physician advised that women could use a seasonal medical procedure called mammography to detect lumps and cancer in the breast early.
“Women should become more sensitive, to know when their breast size is increasing or discharging a liquid. Early treatment is very beneficial,” Dr Anenga said.