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Clin Oncol (R Coll Radiol). 1991 Mar;3(2):78-80.

Fear of mastectomy: the most common factor responsible for late presentation of carcinoma of the breast in Nigeria.

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  • 1Department of Radiation Biology and Radiotherapy, Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Nigeria.


Of 2154 Nigerian breast cancer patients of all ages and socio-economic groups, 87% presented in Stages III or IV and only 13% in Stages I or II. All were questioned on their reasons for not attending hospital sooner. Questionnaires were used and were adequately translated to illiterate patients. The most common reason for delay (963 patients, 44.7%) was fear of mastectomy. Other reasons given include preference for prayer houses or spiritual healing homes in 291 patients (13.5%) a belief that the lesion was inflammatory in 183 (8.5%), preference for native doctors or herbalists in 497 (23.1%) and economic reasons in 220 (10.2%).

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