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

       cancer worldwide.

      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.


       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.

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