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Conference promotes breast and cervical cancer awareness in Nigeria

In an unusual effort to create awareness of breast and cervical cancer risk, prevention, detection and treatment among African doctors and the public, physicians and scientists from the University of Chicago, the University of Ibadan (Nigeria), and the Medical Women's Association of Nigeria have organized the First International Workshop on New Trends in the Management of Breast and Cervical Cancers, to be held May 17-21 in Lagos, Nigeria.

"Somebody has to do this," explained Nigerian-born cancer specialist and conference organizer Funmi Olopade, MBBS, FACP, professor of medicine at the University of Chicago. Although the five-year survival rate for breast cancer patients in the United States exceeds 85 percent, in Nigeria it is a dismal 10 percent.

"Cancer awareness, even among physicians, and much more so among women at risk, needs an enormous boost in Nigeria," Olopade said. "We think we have pulled together the resources to start to make that happen."

Besides Olopade, those resources include teams headed by Olayide Ogunsulire, MBBS, president of the Medical Women's Association of Nigeria, which includes all female registered medical and dental practitioners in Nigeria, and Adeyinka Falusi, Ph.D., director of the Institute for Advanced Medical Research and Training at the College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, the oldest and most prestigious medical school in sub-Saharan Africa.

A specialist in cancer risk assessment and prevention, Olopade studies young women with breast cancer. One of her current research projects involves untangling the genetic and environmental factors that contribute to early-onset breast cancer. She does this, in part, by studying the genetics as well as the reproductive, social, dietary, professional and cultural lives of young Nigerian and African American women who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"That ongoing study quickly made us realize what a huge need there was in my home co
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Contact: John Easton
jeaston@uchospitals.edu
773-702-6241
University of Chicago Medical Center
7-May-2004


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