First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo in a group photograph with dignitaries after the event
Ghana yesterday launched its Breast Cancer Awareness Month, with First Lady Rebecca Akufo-Addo encouraging women to report cases of the disease early enough for treatment to be successful.
The first lady, officially declaring the beginning of the month-long activities to create breast cancer awareness, said there is a high survival rate for those who report breast cancer early to health facilities for treatment.
For instance, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) has over 90 percent early breast cancer treatment success; a figure she said is at par with the early survival rate of developed countries.
However, Mrs Akufo-Addo explained that breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths among women in Ghana, with over 2,000 women diagnosed annually and 1,000 dying from the disease.
“Clearly, the problem is late presentation and delayed treatment,” the first lady stated.
Referring to the theme for the celebration, Mrs Akufo-Addo mentioned that ‘Early Detection and Effective Treatment’ are the two pillars needed to improve the sad outcomes of Ghanaians with breast cancer.
She acknowledged efforts of the KBTH in being proactive in the awareness crusade to reach out to the public.
“I wish to recognise the efforts of all the health personnel and NGOs that continue to educate the public and corporate sponsors who are supporting the breast cancer awareness activities,” she added.
Breast Cancer Management
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr Felix Anyah, remarked that the health facility has made significant strides in the management of breast cancer treatment, with the hospital hosting the national radiotherapy centre.
He further pointed out that the board of the hospital has helped to improve breast care management in the country and within the sub-region since its inception in 2001.
“The board provides pathology, radiology and surgery services and has a palliative care team with a pharmacy making available the medicines required for hormonal and chemotherapy,” he disclosed.
“Specialists and the College of Health Sciences have also been carrying out collaborative research with outcomes being translated into patient care,” Dr Anyah said.
Dr Emmanuel Odame, Director Policy, Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Health, speaking on behalf of the sector minister, indicated that despite the progress of cancer care in the country, challenges, including low awareness, late reporting, negative socio-cultural beliefs, limited human resource and basic equipment for treatments still hinder total cancer care in the country.
He, therefore, called on all to seize the opportunity within the month to raise breast care awareness and the ways of preventing them, as well as the need to seek early medical attention.
By Jamila Akweley Okertchiri