Developing a Breast Cancer Screening Program in Nigeria: Evaluating Current Practices, Perceptions, and Possible Barriers

Olalekan Olasehinde, Carla Boutin-Foster, Olusegun I Alatise, Adewale O Adisa, Oladejo O Lawal, Akinbolaji A Akinkuolie, Abdul-Rasheed K Adesunkanmi, Olujide O Arije, Thomas P Kingham


Purpose: In low- and middle-income countries like Nigeria, women present with advanced breast cancer at an earlier age. Given the limited resources, development of screening programs that parallel resource capabilities of low- and middle-income countries is imperative. The objective of this study was to evaluate the perceptions, practices, and barriers regarding clinical breast examination (CBE) screening in a low-income community in Nigeria.

Materials and methods: A cross-sectional survey of women age 40 years or older in Ife, Nigeria, using multistaged sampling was performed. Information on sociodemographics, knowledge of breast cancer, screening practices, and willingness to participate in CBE screening was obtained using an interviewer-administered questionnaire.

Results: A total of 1,169 women whose ages ranged from 40 to 86 years (mean age, 47.7 years; standard deviation, 8.79 years) were interviewed. The majority of women (94%) knew about breast cancer, whereas 27.5% knew someone who had had breast cancer, the majority of whom (64.5%) had died of the disease. Of the 36% of women who had breast screening recommended to them, only 19.7% had an actual CBE. Of these, only 6% had it in the last year. The majority of women (65.4%) were willing to have regular CBEs and did not care about the sex of the examiner in most instances. Lack of perceived need was the reason cited by women unwilling to participate.

Conclusion: The majority of women were aware of breast cancer and knew it as a fatal disease. With the relatively encouraging number of those willing to be examined, a carefully designed CBE program coupled with advocacy to correct uneducated beliefs seems promising.

Conflict of interest statement

The following represents disclosure information provided by the authors of this manuscript. All relationships are considered compensated. Relationships are self-held unless noted. I = Immediate Family Member, Inst = My Institution. Relationships may not relate to the subject matter of this manuscript. For more information about ASCO’s conflict of interest policy, please refer to or OlasehindeNo relationship to discloseCarla Boutin-FosterNo relationship to discloseOlusegun I. AlatiseNo relationship to discloseAdewale O. AdisaNo relationship to discloseOladejo O. LawalNo relationship to discloseAkinbolaji A. AkinkuolieNo relationship to discloseAbdul-Rasheed K. AdesunkanmiNo relationship to discloseOlujide O. ArijeNo relationship to discloseThomas P. KinghamNo relationship to disclose.