The Global Ambassador of Breast Cancer, and the President of Breast Care International (BCI), Ghana, an NGO, Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has said the breast cancer disease and its attendant’s fatalities demanded concerted efforts by individuals, organizations and government to aid early detection and treatment.
She, therefore, called for stronger partnerships and collaboration to create the expected awareness on breast and other cancers in the country.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, was addressing more than 3,000 Presbyterian Ministers Wives at the free breast screening exercise at the Sunyani Polytechnic
Assembly Hall in the Brong -Ahafo Region.
The Women were drawn from the Presbyterian churches all over the country, and organized jointly by the BCI, and the Presbyterian Church of Ghana.
Dr. Wiafe noted that many women continued to die from the disease due to ignorance, misconception and stigmatization. She lamented that, about 5million people of the 24 million population of Ghana, mainly women, are at risk of breast cancer.
“A prevalence rate of one woman in 10 for the country extrapolates to about 420,000 people who may develop the disease in their life time” She observed.
The cost factor, bad treatment and lack of support are also contributing to the high rate of fatality.
She said, whilst the fight against communicable diseases like HIV, Tuberculosis, Malaria among others were receiving substantial financial push by government and other organizations, the same could not be said of the cancers.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe, is a renowned General Surgeon and Consultant Breast Surgeon, is the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love Hospitals in Accra and Kumasi, said breast cancer had become one of the most devastating diseases killing woman all over the world.
According to Dr. Wiafe, the diseases was not painful at early stages and that reporting for treatment early and regular self-examination were ways for woman to know their status and proceed with Mammogram.
Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, who is also the Vice-President of African Organization for Research Treatment In Cancer (AORTIC) in charge of West Africa, noted that although the treatment was expensive, the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) bore part of the cost of treatment and, therefore, urged all women to register with the scheme to save their lives.
She also urged woman to visit hospital at least twice a year to have their breast examined.
She challenged Ghanaian women to disabuse their minds of the misconception that the disease had spiritual connections or was associated with evil spirits, and advised them to report early to the hospital.
Dr. Wiafe advice them to adopt the habit of examining their own breasts as the best way of checking any defect in their breasts.
The free breast screening programme formed part of the Church commitment to educate women on the disease. She commended the Presbyterian Church of Ghana for the bold step it had taken to create awareness of the disease.
Breast cancer survivors, Madam Vivian Gyasi and Rahima Quaye, who were with the BCI and Peace and Love medical team, advised the women not to waste their time in the prayer camps citing their cases as an example.
“Go to hospital immediately you detected lump in your breast, adding, breast cancer is curable if detected early”.
The screening revealed some very alarming cases of breast and other related cancers among the women.