Study Identifies Barriers to Breast Cancer Treatment in Nigeria

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Martins Ifijeh

A new study by Roche has provided insight into the barriers faced by breast cancer patients in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

Key findings from the study, titled, “Access to care and financial burden for patients with breast cancer in Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria” were presented at the 2019 American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) Annual Meeting held in Chicago, IL, United States earlier this month.

The study shows that significant strides have been made in detecting, managing and treating breast cancer, yet it remains one of the most frequently diagnosed malignancy and the leading cause of cancer-related death in women in the three African countries.

It said a patient’s chance of survival can be impacted by delays in diagnosis and treatment, limitations in access to appropriate cancer care, and financial burdens associated with receiving care.

The co-author of the study, and Consultant Clinical Oncologist, National Hospital, Abuja Dr. Razaq Oyesegun said: “This study is a critical first step to understanding the magnitude of the barriers that Nigerian breast cancer patients face in their fight against this disease, both to improve access to quality cancer treatment and ensure that our patients do not face financial catastrophe while fighting this disease.

“In line with global momentum toward universal healthcare, there is a need for policies that improve standard of care, treatment and increased insurance coverage to ultimately improve outcomes and protect breast cancer patients from financial hardship.”

The Country Manager, Roche, Dr. Hameed Oladipupo said his organisation was proud to support the study, adding that it provides real data on the journey of breast cancer patients.

“One way that this can be accomplished is through stronger private-private and public-private partnerships geared towards improving access to breast cancer care as no single player can tackle the barriers alone,” he said.