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Health News of Friday, 5 October 2018


Korle Bu records 400 breast cancer cases annually

Despite the series of breast cancer awareness creation in the country, over 400 cases of breast cancer are recorded annually at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

Out of this number, 10 are males.

Dr Victoria Partey of the Trust Hospital revealed these startling figures in an interview with The Mirror after the launch of this year’s Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness month at the Trust Hospital.

A study conducted by Dr Steven Lamptey of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital from 2012 to 2018 shows there were 2,160 cumulative cases of breast cancer in the past five years.

“Out of this figure, 1,201 of the patients died. This is simply because between 60 and 70 per cent of the cases came in the advanced stage, putting the patients’ lives in more danger,” she explained.

Dr Partey said the treatment of breast cancer in Ghana was very expensive, and some patients were unable to continue with treatment due to financial constraints.

“I would urge the government to add the treatment of breast cancer to the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) to help save the lives of women in financial distress,” she pointed out.

Delving into global statistics, Dr Partey said 1.76 million cases were recorded annually, stressing that breast cancer currently formed 11 per cent of the cancers that affected humans - both men and women.

“In a research that used 100,000 people as the sample size for both Asia and Africa, 27 of the people had breast cancer and out of this figure, 20 people died.

Again, out of the 20 people who died, six were from Asia and 14 of them from Africa,” she stated.

Comparing this statistics to a similar research conducted in the USA, she said the same 100,000 people were sampled and out of the figure, 92 of them hadbreast cancer. However, two out of the 92 died.

“You can clearly see that the figure for America was higher, however they had fewer deaths while that of Africa and Asia was lower but recorded more deaths.

This disparity is as a result of early detection and complete treatment by the Americans. In our part of the world, the story is different,” she lamented.

The Head of the Radiology Unit at the Trust Hospital, Dr Diana Essah, demystified assertions that going through mammogram examination was painful and once you were diagnosed of the disease, you might end up not getting a husband to marry.

“These are all misconceptions that people follow and end up coming to the hospital with worse conditions,” she said.

Dr Essah mentioned that there were people who were dealing with breast cancer for years, but they came for treatments without the knowledge of the rest of their family.

“For them, they fear being stigmatised and, therefore, resolve to keep the disease to themselves,” she explained.

She noted that such a situation was not the best as there might be other family members who were likely to have hereditary breast cancer cases.

“Generally, women over age 50 are more likely to get breast cancer than younger women. However, these days the disease is now being reported by some women from 25 to 29 years,” she stated.

Dr Essah prevailed on both men and women to subject themselves for annual screening “because when the disease is diagnosed early, several lives can be saved”.