A renowned Ghanaian General Surgeon and Breast Consultant, Dr (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has called on African Scientist and Researchers to get a common language to explain breast cancer in the continent.
“It is a challenge in the continent,” she said.
Speaking at the African Organization for Research and Training In Cancer (AORTIC), International Conference on cancer in Africa, at the International Convention Centre (ICC) in Durban, South Africa.
The 9th International Cancer Conference is entitled “ Cancer in Africa :“Bridging Science and Humanity” Held every two years, the AORTIC conferences provide a unique platform to bring together leading African and International health care professionals in cancer care, advocates, leaders in Government, and various members of the International health industry and global cancer community meeting and discussing cancer-related matters, and proffering solutions to significantly reduce the impact of cancer in Africa and indeed around the world.
Speaking on the topic,” Psychosocial Impact of Cancer Diagnosis” –Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, who is an AORTIC council member and immediate past Vice-President of AORTIC In-Charge of West Africa, said cancer care in Ghana has improve substantially in the past 10 years. Solid tumors’ used to be managed entirely with surgery followed by some form of Chemotherapy, or by Chemotherapy alone.
“As well as advances in cancer management in Ghana patient awareness has improved, with the support of the media, physicians, and NGOs, such that patients are more aware of the curative and palliative treatments available and the need for early diagnosis and treatment”. She added.
The AORTIC Council member said when they are treating breast cancer they talk about cervical cancer, and to empower women when they do this.
She lamented that most women lost their jobs after going through the treatment and even their husbands run away from them.
She announced that after conference her organization, the Breast Care International (BCI) Ghana, is going to extend its village projects, going to Schools to train youth in order for them to go back home to teach their parents about cancers.
According to GLOBOCAN, roughly 16,000 cases of cancer occur annually in Ghana, with the five most common being cancers of the liver, breast, cervix, prostrate, and stomach.
Cancer is the fourth most common cause of death in the country.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love Hospitals in Accra and Kumasi, said only five Oncology centres now operate in Ghana, the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and Peace and Love Hospital in Accra, the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Peace and Love Hospital in Kumasi, and the Sweden Ghana Medical Centre at Tema.
She said Radiation oncologists are scare, and are concentrated at Korle Bu and Komfo Anokye teaching Hospitals.
According to Dr. Wiafe, the Peace and Love Hospital in Kumasi will become the only fully fledged breast cancer treatment centre in the country after the installation of its radiotherapy unit.
Dr. Wiafe Addai, who chaired the 2013 BCI Ghana Walk for the Cure said, there is no systematic national cancer programme is in place and the development of a national cancer registry is at rudimentary stage.
“Moreover, without accurate information about the regional distribution of cancers in the country, no realistic bases exist upon which to match the
provision of cancer care with demand to ensure efficient resource use and equitable access”. She added.
She made it clear that, the inauguration of Peace and Love Hospital Survivors Association (PALHSA) with hundreds of members, is resulted to the increasing number of people who turn up for medical consultation with early symptoms of cancer.