A Professor of Community Medicine, Modupe Onadeko, has advised women to always go for proper screening for breast cancer as self-examination is no longer adequate.
Onadeko gave the advice in an interview with the press in Ibadan on Thursday. She said some women had been getting positive results from self-examination of the breast only for a lump to be discovered after doing mammography (X-ray).
She explained that the best way to avoid a delay in detecting breast cancer was by screening through mammography which could be done annually.
The professor called on stakeholders in the health sector to create affordable cancer screening centres, saying a lot of women had died due to inadequate screening.
“Breast Cancer is an uncontrolled growth of breast cells; the growth occurs as a result of mutations or abnormal changes in the genes responsible for regulating the growth of cells and keeping them healthy.
“The genes are in each cell’s nucleus, which acts as the control room of each cell; normally, the cells replace themselves through an orderly process of growth, with healthy new cells taking over as old ones die out.
“But over time, mutations can “turn on” certain genes and “turn off” others in a cell.
“The changed cell gains the ability to keep dividing without control or order, producing more cells just like it and forming a tumour. This tumour is what we describe as cancer,” she said.
The former Head of Department of Community Medicine and Primary Health Care at the College of Community Medicine, University College Hospital, Ibadan, also said that 60 per cent of women of menopausal age experience hot flushes.
According to her, menopause is the term used to describe the years when the ovaries gradually begin to produce fewer eggs and less of the female hormones – oestrogen and progesterone.
“This reduction in hormone production causes monthly periods to become progressively more irregular until they stop altogether, producing physical and psychological symptoms in many women.