By: Mathias Amoah with files from GNA
Report from the World Health Organization (WHO) has shown that about 2,900 cases of breast cancer are being diagnosed annually in Ghana.
The disease has been identified as the second leading cause of cancer deaths in Ghana. It also noted that at least one of eight women with the disease died.
The report revealed that a total of 2,000 Ghanaian women were diagnosed of breast cancer in the year 2012.
The report indicated that, 1,000 of the figure, representing 50 per cent of the cases died and so there was an increasing danger of complications for women in Ghana and the whole of Africa.
Dr. Akwasi Anyanful, a senior lecturer at the University of Cape Coast School of Medical Science (UCCSMS) made this known at the third annual Oguaa breast cancer awareness campaign week on Saturday in Cape Coast, to commemorate this year’s breast cancer awareness month.
The programme was organized by Breast Screening Services, a Cape Coast based Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), in collaboration with the Centre for Gender, Research and Advocacy, UCC with support from Pledge Pink of UT Bank.
It was to create awareness of the disease and to let women, particularly, know that it could be prevented with early detection.
He stated that 1.7 million women were diagnosed of the disease worldwide of which 500,000, representing 28 per cent died.
According to him, majority of Ghanaian women died of the disease because they did not report early to the hospital for early detection and treatment.
He charged women to report suspected signs of breast cancer to their doctors early for effective treatment to check preventable deaths
Dr. Anyanful said every woman was prone to the breast cancer disease as men were to prostate cancer and therefore should be aware of the disease and get screened as soon as possible.
The root causes of the disease are not yet known but hereditary and the lifestyle of individuals have been identified by doctors as some of the causes of the disease.
He advised women not to go for un-prescribed x-rays of their breast as too much exposure to radiation could expose them to the disease.
Dr. Anyanful, Mrs. Yvonne Nduom and Dr. Frank Ghartey, together with other prominent personalities, led an awareness walk through the principal streets of Cape Coast.
Meanwhile, the First Lady, Mrs. Lordina Mahama has called on women to take advantage of the month long cancer awareness celebrations to have their breasts checked.
She said the only known solution to breast cancer now was early detection, and that, although breast cancer is a deadly disease, if detected early it could be cured or controlled.
Mrs. Mahama further advised women, who had survived breast cancer to share their success stories with family, friends, colleagues and church members to motivate them to go for breast examination.
Speaking in an interview to mark the breast cancer awareness month in Accra, Mrs Mahama noted that, a significant number of breast cancer patients had overcome the disease and have testimonials to share, which can give hope to those who are battling the disease and those who are yet to be diagnosed.
The First Lady, therefore urged women to take an active role in their own healthcare and to encourage those they love to do the same
According to the First Lady, breast cancer does not strike an individual alone but the whole family unit. Hence the impact of the disease was therefore profound on both the woman diagnosed with the disease and her family.
Mrs Mahama said advances in knowledge and progress in the therapy of breast cancer have been based upon a multi-disciplinary approach, requiring early detection and screening guidelines as well as the proper treatment and follow-up of patients.
She said breast cancer was a major killer of women, both globally and regionally, and that, studies have shown that most patients with breast cancer sought for medical attention for the first time at stages two and three, indicating the need for increased community awareness and early detection of the disease.
Mrs Mahama said symptoms may include any change in the size or the shape of the breast, pain in any area of the breast, nipple discharge other than breast milk (including blood), and a new lump in the breast or underarm.
She called on women with any of the signs to seek medical help right away.