AN oncologist, Prof. Bisi Ademuyiwa, has warned that failure on the part of women to breastfeed their babies may increase their risk of cancer.
Ademuyiwa, who is ranked by Forbes as one of the top 27 breast cancer oncologists in the United States, added that herbal drugs could not be used in the treatment of the deadly disease.
She disclosed this during a seminar organised by AXA Mansard HMO in collaboration with the African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme in Abuja.
The oncologist said, “The specific cause of breast cancer is unknown. We don’t know why one member of a family will have it, but we suspect that it is a change in the genetic material in our bodies, which can be acquired, such as change in life style, alcohol, aging, obesity and lack of breastfeeding.
“Herbal drugs are generally not helpful in patients who have cancers.”
The doctor, however, said that some supportive drugs could help with nausea, vomiting and fatigue, but there was no data to show that herbal or alternative, medicine could help in eradicating cancer.
Ademuyiwa urged women, especially those aged 40 and beyond, to go for mammogram screening every year.
She further stated that the stigma associated with cancer, particularly in developing countries like Nigeria, was preventing many from getting treatment.
The oncologist said there were more cases of cancer in the country because Nigerians were imbibing more western habits and changing diets.
“We are no longer eating directly from the farm. We are eating more processed foods, frozen foods and less fresh foods,” she said.
Ademuyiwa said cancer survivors should continue to maintain healthy lifestyles and remain vigilant as many cases could recur.
She said there was a need for government, health agencies and non-governmental organisations to work together towards supporting and easing the financial burden of cancer treatment for patients.
The National President, African Women’s Entrepreneurship Programme, Angela Ajala, said the seminar tagged, ‘Current trends in the management of breast cancer’ was organised because of the effect of the disease in the country and to disabuse the minds of the general public about the many myths surrounding it.