First Lady Mrs. Rebecca Akufo-Addo on Tuesday launched October as the Breast Cancer Awareness Month as part of efforts to draw attention to and create awareness of the problem of breast cancer throughout the country.
This launch is in line with the World Health Organisation’s (WHO) collaborative awareness programme with countries to intensify awareness creation campaigns and treatment options regarding breast cancer.
According to the First Lady, this period “gives us an opportunity to encourage and support measures aimed at early detection, effective treatment and palliative care of this disease.”
She noted that globally, breast cancer is the leading cancer for women and the second leading cause of female cancer deaths however “in Ghana it is both the leading cancer and the leading cause of cancer death.”
She indicated that’s as per WHO’s statistics, “over 2000 women in Ghana get the disease and more than 1000 die from it every year. Most are young, with the majority between 40 and 49 years.”
She said that it is even more alarming because the WHO “projects an increase in numbers in countries like Ghana.”
Mrs. Akufo-Addo noted that if Ghana “is to make a headway in improving the sad outcomes of Ghanaians with breast cancer, we cannot ignore two factors i.e. early detection through effective screening, and effective treatment options made possible through cancer research.”
She noted that most of the over 400 new breast cancer cases that are reported to Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, for instance, come at a late stage when the disease is at advanced and after victims have tried unproven therapies.
She said that as per statistics from Korle Bu, “over 90% of patients with early breast cancer treated in this hospital survive the disease.” Therefore she urged victims to know that effective treatment is available in Ghana encouraging them to report early, comply with treatment that has been proven to be effective and educate others to do the same.
The First lady further stated that this month long campaign “is also an opportunity to demystify the disease by dealing with misconceptions that eventually lead to poor treatment outcome.”
She advised victims to seek information and treatment for breast cancer from reliable sources and facilities since there are lot of misconceptions about the disease as well as false claims on treatment on the internet, social media platforms, friends, relatives and even casual acquaintances which can be fatal.