The cells in the body are constantly renewed by the production of new cells and shedding of worn out cells. Some cells die and are digested by the body system. Abnormal cells are quickly removed by the body’s own immune mechanisms.
Occasionally, some of the abnormal cells from this regenerative process do not exit the body naturally and can lead to abnormal growth. If these growths are malignant (causing harm to other cells or organs in the body), then they are referred to as cancer. Cancer is a mass of cells whose formation serves no physiologic purpose and whose growth is excessive, and continues in this disproportionate manner and at the expense of normal body cells, even after the initial stimulus for its formation or growth has been withdrawn. Not only do they grow excessively, depleting normal body cells of nutrients, they actually have a tendency to acquire their own blood supply by stimulating formation of new blood vessels. Again, they have ability to jump (metastasize) from one part of the body to another adjoining or distant part, and continue in their uninhibited growth even in that new environment.
7 in 100* Nigerians are likely to die of cancer before the age of 75. The most prevalent form of cancer among Nigerians (regardless of gender), is breast cancer. The most common cancer amongst men is prostate cancer. The key to defeating cancer (of any form) is early detection and treatment.
It is recommended that every woman should perform regular breast self examination for early detection of growths in the breast.
When a lump is discovered, please seek medical advice from a Surgeon. More often than not, your surgeon would recommend a procedure to excise the growth. It is advisable to have any growth in the breast removed. There is no way to ascertain which lump will turn out to be cancerous while it is still in the body. These days, lumps can be removed with minimal scarring to the breast.
Stories abound of women who refuse to undergo surgical procedures because they want to avoid scarring on the breast. Some women do not want to face stigma or be looked upon as different.
Society (men and women alike) can help in this regard. If people educate themselves a lot more about the dangers of breast cancer, they are more likely to be empathic towards women who have undergone surgical procedures for breast cancer. Cancer can lead to death.
Provide emotional support to women who have undergone or need to undergo surgery for breast cancer
*Global Cancer Observatory