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Oncologist Warns Nigerian Women Against Taking Contraceptives, Says Birth Control Pills Trigger Breast Cancer

Dr Temitope Olatunji-Agunbiade, a Consultant Radiation and Clinical Oncologist, at the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, has cautioned women against using contraceptive pills, to reduce the prevalent cases of breast cancer.

Olatunji-Agunbiade gave the warning during her presentation at an awareness event held in commemoration of the 2023 Breast Cancer Awareness Month, organized by Covenant University’s CAPIC ACE, in partnership with Beulah World Initiative (BWI), in Ota, Ogun State.

This year’s slogan is, ‘Keeping Her in the Picture,’ a plea to everyone to keep an eye on the well-being of the significant women in their lives.

In her presentation, Dr. Agunbiade asserted that breast cancer could be found in both youths and the elderly, and is the leading cause of cancer deaths in women as well as accounting for 26.7 per cent of all prevailing malignancies in women.

The oncologist explained that recent research had been carried out and revealed that using contraceptives to prevent pregnancy is one of the major causes of breast cancer in the country.

“All contraceptive pills sometimes lead to cancer and they are not safe for human consumption, this is because most oral contraceptives contain man-made versions of the female sex hormones, estrogen and progesterone. Taking the pill changes your hormone levels, which can trigger cancer,” she said.

Olatunji-Agunbiade, however, said that breast cancer was potentially curable if detected early, to prevent the development of the life-threatening disease.

“Breast cancers that are detected when smaller or not palpable are more treatable and thus are associated with a more favourable prognosis,” she said.

The oncologist identified some of the clinical features of breast cancer to include painless swelling in the breast, skin changes, asymptomatic and axillary swelling and lymphedema of the arm.

She advised women on healthy lifestyles, modification of reproductive behaviour, physical examination by health care professionals, breast self-examination and mammography to minimize the trend of breast cancer cases in the country.

The oncologist listed some of the measures used for treating breast cancer to include surgery, chemotherapy, radiation and targeted therapy.

Speaking on the relevance of the programme, Chichi Ononiwu, Founder and Coordinator, Beulah World Initiative (BWI), stated that each year, individuals, businesses and communities come together to show their support to people affected by breast cancer.

Ms Ononiwu said that it was based on this that BWI partnered with CApiC- ACE, to create the forum for propagating breast cancer awareness to educate women and stem the tide.

She reiterated the mission of BWI, to advance the quality of life of rural and sub-urban communities in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the improvement of health, leadership development and education support.

Ms Ononiwu appealed to women to go for check-up once they observe or suspect anything abnormal in their body system.
Prof. Emeka Iweala, Director, CApiC-ACE, Covenant University, said the centre was established to carry out research on breast cancer.

Iweala, also a Professor of Biochemistry at the institution, said that the purpose of studying breast cancer was to develop safe and effective methods to prevent, detect, diagnose, treat and ultimately cure the disease.

According to him, the Federal Government is making efforts to fight cancer, and the country is wining the battle against this disease.

“The Federal Government is supporting research in various ways; the centre is supported and funded by a grant under the World Bank ACE IMPACT Project, which is a loan to the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”


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