Study identifies barriers to breast cancer treatment in Nigeria, Sub-Saharan Africa

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A new research finding has identifies patients travelling long distances to access care ,treatment cost , significant delays and wait times for diagnostic tests as barriers that limits breast cancer patients the ability to complete an appropriate course of treatment in Nigeria, Ghana and Kenya.

“Patients face significant delays, waiting time for surgery (mastectomy or breast conserving) can reach up to 112 days in Nigeria and 145 days in Ghana,” study revealed.

In Nigeria breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in women and cervical cancer the second. Cancer is a critical public health problem in this population, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

The study states 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 Nigeria, Kenya and Ghana. A patient’s chance of survival can be impacted by delays in diagnosis and treatment, limitations in access to appropriate and quality cancer care, and financial burdens associated with receiving care.

To better understand the challenges to addressing the full spectrum of breast cancer patient care in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and to help identify what solutions are needed throughout the patient journey, the study evaluated real world data on medical resource use, time taken to access recommended interventions and impact of payment options for individual patients.

“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,” stated Razaq Oyesegun, co-author of the study and consultant clinical/radiation oncologist, National Hospital, Abuja.

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