Health News of Wednesday, 5 February 2014
Despite Ghana’s capacity to effectively prevent and treat breast cancer locally, about a third of people diagnosed as having breast cancer die annually.
The high rate of death resulting from cancer has been attributed, mainly, to ignorance and delay in reporting the health condition to health facilities for treatment.
According to the Head of the Department of Surgery at University of Ghana Medical School, Professor Joe Nat Clegg-Lamptey, the situation was not a hopeless one.
A way out of the predicament, he said, was for a conscious multi-sectoral approach to curb the menace through aggressive public education or awareness creation.
Professor Clegg-Lamptey expressed the optimism in his presentation on, “An overview of breast cancer in Ghana”, at the launch of World Cancer Day 2014 in Accra yesterday.
This year’s World Cancer Day is being celebrated on the theme: “Debunk the Myths: Cancer is Preventable and Curable”.
There are two public hospitals with radiotherapy facilities for the treatment of cancer — the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra and the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi.
Acknowledging the fact that the situation was not hopeless, since the Ghana Health Service and all its stakeholders had everything that was required to deal with the situation, Prof. Clegg-Lamptey said curtailing breast cancer depended on prevention, early detection, proper diagnoses and adequate treatment.
He emphasised that a conscious multi-sectoral approach was crucial to curbing the menace, saying that unless something urgent was done, more than 2,000 women would contract breast cancer, while more than a 1,000 would die from it in 2014.
He said more research should be conducted to study the risk factors and the nature of cancer in order to deal with it effectively.
Self-Breast Cancer Examination
The Minister of Health, Ms Sherry Ayittey, said the burden of cancer in Ghana was projected to increase due to ageing, rapid urbanisation and unhealthy lifestyles.
She said the ministry had developed a national strategy for cancer control which would be implemented over the next five years.
She, therefore, called on all stakeholders, especially the media, to use their platform and knowledge to debunk the myths associated with cancer and broadcast that cancer was preventable and curable.