The head of department, Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), Dr. Muhammad Habeebu, on Thursday said childless women were at higher risk of having breast cancer.
Habeebu said this at the 9th Symposium and Awards organised by the Health Writers Association of Nigeria (HEWAN) in collaboration with Maximpact Communications, in Lagos.
He identified breast cancer as the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second-most-common cause of death from cancer.
He said women who have had children, particularly if they also breastfed at least one year following pregnancy, have a lower risk of breast cancer.
”The woman body is designed to have children and having children means breastfeeding to lower the risk of breast cancer.
”Most women who breastfeed experience hormonal changes during lactation that delay their menstrual periods.
”This delay reduces a woman’s lifetime exposure to hormones like estrogen, which can promote breast cancer cell growth.
”So, when a woman has children and breastfeed them adequately, it makes her breast less likely to develop cancer but women who did not have children or breastfeed are at higher risk of developing cancer, ” he said.
Habeebu, however, urged women without children to be vigilant by going for regular cancer screening to aid early detection.
”Whether they have had children or not, there are many things that women in their fifties should do in terms of appropriate screening for cancer. Undergoing annual mammograms to look for early stage breast cancer is one of the things they should do.
”Women should also maintain a normal weight since the excess estrogen of obesity increases the risk of endometrial cancer and possibly breast cancer,” he said.
Habeebu who is also a Consultant Oncologist said that inspite having an increasing number of citizens suffering from cancer, Nigeria only has nine radiotherapy machines with only three functioning.
He urged government at all levels to invest in the provision of infrastructure for cancer treatment to save many cancer patients in the country.
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