Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of abnormal cells in the body, when the body’s normal control mechanism stops, cancer develops.

The most common cancer among women in Nigeria is the breast and cervical cancer.


Cervical cancer is a type of cancer that occurs in the cervix, the lower part of the uterus that connects to the Vagina. The cancer can affect the dipper tissues of women cervix and can spread to other parts of her body; often the lungs, liver, bladder, vagina, and rectum in most cases,  cervical cancer are caused by infection with Human Papillion Virus (HPV) which is preventable with vaccine. There is usually time to find and treat it before it causes serious problems, because it grows slowly. Due to improved screening through the PAP test, it can be treated quickly. You might be at higher risk of cervical cancer if:

  1. You started having sex before age 16 or within a year of starting your period
  2. Having multiple sex partners
  3. Taking birth control pills, especially longer than 5 years
  4. Smoking cigarettes
  5. Have sexual transmitted diseases

Pap smear test can often dictate cervical cancer in its earliest stages, they are one of the most reliable prevention steps you can take to protect yourself against cervical cancer. Getting regular scheduled Pap smear is important for almost all women; most women 21 to 69 need regular pap tests. It is recommended that women between the ages of 21 to 69 years , who are sexually active  should have a pap test every three years. The best way to protect yourself against cervical cancer is to protect yourself against Human Papilloma Virus.    You can reduce your risk on cervical cancer by:

  • Using condom, condom help reduce risk of getting HPV
  • Use spermicidal gels. They also help protect against HPV
  • Do not smoke the risk of developing cervical cancer increases with the length of time a woman smokes and the number of cigarette smoked per day.

Take the following steps to make your pap test accurate as possible

  1. Make your appointment for at least five days after your menstrual period stops
  2. For 48 hours before the test , do not have sex, and do not use douches, tampons, birth controls or gel, vaginal creams or vaginal medicines, moisturizers or lubricants.

What is Breast Cancer?

Breast Cancer develops in the breast cells, the cancer forms in either the lobules (Glands that produce milk) or the ducts (Pathways that brings the milk from the gland to the nipple) Breast Cancer may not cause any symptoms at its early stage, the first sign is usually a new lump in the breast that was not there before, please note: Not all lumps are cancer.

Symptoms of Breast cancer

  • Breast pain
  • Pitted skin on your entire breast
  • Swelling in all part of the breast
  • Bloody discharge from nipple
  • Peeling, scaling, or flaking of the skin on your nipple or breast
  • A sudden, unexplained change in the shape and size of your breast
  • A lump or swelling under your arm.

Breast self-examination or regularly examining your breast on your own, can be an important way to find breast cancer early, when it is more likely to be treated successfully.


Step 1: Begin by looking at your breasts in the mirror with your shoulders straight and your arms on your hips.

This is what you should look for:

If you notice any of the following changes, tell your doctor:

  • Dimpling, puckering, or bulging of the skin
  • A nipple that has changed position or an inverted nipple (pushed inward instead of sticking out)
  • Redness, soreness, rash, or swelling

Step 2: Now, raise your arms and look for the same changes.

Step 3: While you’re at the mirror, look for any signs of fluid coming out of one or both nipples (this could be a watery, milky, or yellow fluid or blood).

Step 4: Next, feel your breasts while lying down, using your right hand to feel your left breast and then your left hand to feel your right breast. Use a firm, smooth touch with the first few finger pads of your hand, keeping the fingers flat and together. Use a circular motion, about the size of a quarter.

Cover the entire breast from top to bottom, side to side — from your collarbone to the top of your abdomen, and from your armpit to your cleavage.

Follow a pattern to be sure that you cover the whole breast. You can begin at the nipple, moving in larger and larger circles until you reach the outer edge of the breast. You can also move your fingers up and down vertically, in rows, as if you were mowing a lawn. This up-and-down approach seems to work best for most women. Be sure to feel all the tissue from the front to the back of your breasts: for the skin and tissue just beneath, use light pressure; use medium pressure for tissue in the middle of your breasts; use firm pressure for the deep tissue in the back. When you’ve reached the deep tissue, you should be able to feel down to your ribcage.

Step 5: Finally, feel your breasts while you are standing or sitting. Many women find that the easiest way to feel their breasts is when their skin is wet and slippery, so they like to do this step in the shower. Cover your entire breast, using the same hand movements described in step 4.

From the study done by Anambra state management of breast ad cervical cancer shows that only 35.56% were aware of Pap Smear test, only 1.78% have done the test. From this study, the level of cancer awareness is low. Breast and cervical cancer are preventable, breast and cervical screening and early treatment are vital in combating the disease.

We need to create awareness. You can support one of our pilot project Cancer Screening of Anambra women.





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