1ST ANNUAL AFRICAN BREAST CANCER CONFERENCE (AABCC)
IN ABUJA, NIGERIA FROM MARCH 18TH - 19TH, 2008
The 1st Annual Africa Breast Cancer Conference took place at the Abuja Sheraton Hotel
& Towers, Abuja, Nigeria. The conference was organized by Princess Nikky Breast
Cancer Foundation with support from Novartis Oncology. It had Speakers who are
specialists in the field of breast cancer from all parts of the world- USA, Europe, Africa
and Nigeria. However, we had in attendance 212 delegates and participants consisting of
health professionals, advocates, pharmaceutical companies, government representatives,
media practitioners and breast cancer survivors. Most African countries attended the
conference and gave reports on the outlook of breast cancer in their countries.There was
strong support from the Nigerian government : the Nigerian President, Vice President,
Legislators, Service Chiefs & Wives, Governors & Wives were present and represented.
Cancer of the breast is the commonest cancer in females or second after cervical
It is the leading cause of death from cancers among women in the developing
In Africa, women with this cancer commonly present in the advanced stages
when no cure can be achieved.
The treatment is usually by mastectomies combined with cytotoxic drugs which
are very expensive for an average African woman. Radiotherapy is given to those
that have access to it and are able to foot the bills. In Nigeria for instance
Radiotherapy centers are found in only about four tertiary hospitals! This is
grossly inadequate for a country of 140 million people. However, in most African
countries, there is non – existence of a single Radiotherapy equipment.
The causes of breast cancer are not known so prevention is not an alternative. The
only remedy therefore is early detection through screening.
There is lack of awareness of screening among the populace and where the
screening is available; most women do not present themseves for the screening
programme. Others cannot afford the screening (Mammographic).
Screening by breast self examination or clinical breast examination have been
shown not to reduce the mortality rate of breast cancer substantially. The only
way forward is by screening for early detection.
Mammographic Screening is carried out in some centers in Nigeria with the
Supply of equipments by the Federal Government. However, this is not a well
coordinated programme but patients can come and pay for the screening.
However, in most African countries, they even lack the Screening Machines.
There is paucity of trained personnel to use these equipments.
There is a need to support advocacy in Africa to create the necessary
awareness among the people about the need for mass screening for breast
cancer. This actually is a very important point and must be taken seriously?
There is a greater need to involve the Communities, Health Professionals,
Non-Governmental Organizations, and Faith -Based Organizations in the
planning and information dissemination at all levels.
Breast cancer is not receiving the appropriate attention it should have when
compared with HIV/AIDS. It is therefore stressed that Breast cancer be given
appropriate attention in terms of publicity, funding and research.
Breast Cancer should be placed on the African Health Agenda to attract the very
much needed attention that it richly deserves.
It is time for African Governments to establish programmes that will reduce the
mortality rate from Breast cancer.
Mammographic breast cancer screening should be a must and African
governments should work towards that. NGOs and Corporate Organizations have
a big role to play as Governments cannot do everything.
Quality control and standards are the functions of the governments and without
quality control; Mammographic screening profitability cannot be achieved.
Breast cancer management is a multidisciplinary activity, therefore appropriate
breast cancer teams need to be formed at each cancer center where a
mammography unit is place.
In Africa, Mammography screening can be started if the personnel have adequate
clinical exposure. The African governments and philanthropists can sponsor these
trainings if they are committed to reducing the burden of breast cancer deaths.
Breast Cancer treatment is expensive and unaffordable to most victims in Africa.
Pharmaceutical Companies should consider it a priority to find a way of making
drugs available by extending their patient assistant programmes to Africa.
Individuals, Organisations and African governments should develop systems of
making breast cancer drugs available to the victims.
There should be clinical trials and research on breast cancer in Africa given the
type of aggressive tumors that are found among the victims in the continent.
CONCLUSIONS / RESOLUTIONS
There is a need to involve everyone: Health Professionals, NGOs, FBOs and
the Communities in the awareness of breast cancer in Africa.
The cost of screening mammography should be drastically reduced, NGOs
and private individuals can purchase the consumables required and supplied
freely to screening centers when formed.
The time has come for Mammographic breast cancer screening programme in
Africa as part of routine medical check-up.
There should be concerted efforts by scientists and pharmaceutical
companies,to bring clinical trials and research on breast cancer to Africa.
Breast Cancer should be placed on the African Health Agenda to attract the
very much needed funding from African governments.
Africa is very grateful to the sponsors of this conference – Novartis Oncology
for its leadership role in supporting the 1st Annual Africa Breast Cancer
Conference in Abuja, Nigeria.
The vision of the conference was aptly captured in the concluding words of
Prof. Clement Adebamawo: “I see the Annual Africa Breast Cancer
Conference becoming the San Anthonio Breast Cancer Conference of
Africa”. This is what we hope to achieve in the future.
The 2nd Annual Africa Breast Cancer Conference will hold in Egypt from
16th – 17th March, 2009.