More than 4,650 women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually in Ghana, according to the chairperson of the Ghana Non- Communicable Diseases Alliance (GhNCDA), Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addai.
Out of the number, she mentioned that over 2,060 die annually, adding that of the non communicable diseases, breast cancer is the number one killer in the countr
Dr Wiafe-Addai, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love Hospital and Breast Care International(BCI), a non-governmental organisation, was speaking at the launch of the annual “BCI Ghana Walk For The Cure” ahead of the Breast Cancer Month in October.
“Breast cancer statistics will remain a scar on our conscience, if we do not collectively fight the condition as a national disaster and a developmental issue. It is not only a public health issue,” she said.
Under the theme “Breast Cancer Won’t Rest, Why Should We,” the 10th edition of the walk is expected to bring about 10,000 health-conscious participants to Tepa, in the AhafoAno North Municipality of Ashanti, to increase awareness about breast cancer and to also celebrate survivorship.
With some participants coming from outside Ghana, the international event would witness the participation of politicians, the clergy, school children/students, teachers, farmers, traditional and opinion leaders, among others.
DrWiafe-Addai appealed to the government to ensure mammographs were provided in all the regional hospitals in the country to ease the pains of women, most of whom were from remote areas, travelling to the cities for early detection.
She said it was strange that public hospitals lacked the mammographs which were common in many private hospitals, stressing “we should be serious to make such provisions to save women in the country as it is a national concern.”
“It is about time breast cancer is given the needed attention after COVID-19, as the number one killer of women,” she intoned, and urged the media to join the crusade to create the awareness.
“If we do not create the public awareness of this reality, we will be deceiving ourselves about this disturbing trend,as our women perish,though there is cure,” she indicated.
She advised women to conduct self-breast examinations and report anomalies for early treatment, underlining that “you can survive breast cancer,it is not a curse, it is one of the non communicable diseases.”
The CEO asked women to visit medical centres if they noticed lump, swelling, redness and darkening, change in size, dimpling and nipple discharge in the breast, because early detection of breast cancer was important in saving lives.
National Coordinator of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Nana Agyemang-Prempeh, said breast cancer was a national disaster and much attention needed to be given to it for the sake of women’s survival.
Municipal Chief Executive, Matina Appiah Nyantakyi, appealed to women to do all possible to visit medical centres on the slightest sign in the breast to avoid escalation of the disease.
Nana AgyeiwaaPaamu II, Queenmother of Tepa, was full of praise for BCI for the choice of Tepa for the international walk, come October 1, this year.
She added her voice to the call on women to be more attentive to their breasts and seek medical advice than relying on herbal treatments which in most cases do not work.