A recent review using the most recent data available for the entire continent showed that breast cancer was the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women in 2008. There were an estimated 92,600 cases – 24% of all new cancers diagnosed in women in Africa in that year. The authors of the review paper noted that breast cancer recently overtook cervical cancer as the most commonly diagnosed cancer in several countries in sub-Saharan Africa, including Nigeria, Chad, Sudan, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Niger, Namibia, Congo, Kenya, and Somalia.
This change was attributed to increases in the prevalence of breast cancer risk factors associated with urbanization and economic development, such as earlier menarche, later childbearing, having fewer children, obesity, and increased awareness and detection.¹
These factors were also discussed by researchers who recently reported on the features of breast cancer among women in five North African countries: Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, and Egypt. They concluded that breast cancer in North Africa can currently be characterized by young age at diagnosis and a high proportion of aggressive forms of the condition (inflammatory breast cancer and triple-negative breast cancer), compared with breast cancer in Western countries.