The rate at which women are succumbing to breast cancer remains a worry to stakeholders.
About 2,060 women in Ghana die from breast cancer out of the 4,600 cases reported annually since 2020, according to Globocan.
President of Breast Cancer International (BCI) Ghana Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai blamed the sad development on late reporting of the disease to appropriate health facilities.
“The problem we have is the fact that our women keep staying in the prayer camps and applying herbs. By the time they come to the hospital, the disease might have spread from the breast to the bone to the brain and to the liver or lungs. Breast cancer doesn’t stay in the breast alone but spreads.”
The breast cancer advocate observed education and awareness creation is the surest bet to reduce the mortality rate.
“If the disease is identified early it can be cured without removing the breast. We can prevent our women from dying needlessly if we report to the hospital on time. That is the reason why we are bent on creating awareness as a group.”
The 10th edition of BCI Ghana walk for a cure has been launched in Tepa to create awareness of the disease and the need to report to hospital in time.
Dr Beatrice Wiafe said they don’t want a situation where how a woman lives will determine whether she survives or dies from breast cancer.
Most worrying to her is the absence of mammogram machines in the various government hospitals.
“The unavailability of mammogram machines contributes to delay in detecting the disease. The machines are not equipment that the Ministry of Health can’t procure because even private hospitals have them. At least each regional hospital should get one.”
A breast cancer survivor, Vivian Sarfo Gyasi, cautioned against the stigmatization of breast cancer patients.
“The stigma surrounding the disease is huge so most women hide the disease and before they go to hospital it is late. We should understand that the disease is not caused by witchcraft. If you notice any changes in your breast don’t joke with it but rush to a hospital.”
The Director-General of the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO), Nana Agyemang Prempeh, advised women against going to prayer camps for breast cancer treatment.
“We know God is a Healer but it is important we go to the hospital for treatment rather than going to prayer camps.”
The BCI Ghana walk for cure has been scheduled to take place at Tepa on Saturday, October 1.