World cancer day: Liver cancer topples all cancer death in Ghana……Prostate cancer also beats breast and cervical cancer


By Raphael NyarkoteyObu

World Cancer Day is an annual occasion on the global calendar the entire world band together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. It takes place every year on 4 February.The day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer, and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease. In Ghana, though the statistics of cancers varies due to lack of well-defined national cancer register to collate national figures. The few statistics available which is made public appears alarming with high mortality rate.  Though with breast cancer there has been tremendous progress made themortality rate is not something to take away.The number of men dying from prostate cancer is outrageous based on figures available.

Though advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are paying off, and increased funding could benefit prostate cancer. Recently, the Ghana News Agency reported that about 60,000 cancer cases are recorded annually. This was also attributed to report made known to the media by Dr Joel Yarney, the Head of the Medical Centre for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.In another reports in the Daily guide,Seventy percent of cancer deaths in Ghana could be prevented if healthy lifestyles are adopted and early detection is made, this was attributed to DrEfuaCommeh of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Programme, Ghana Health Service (GHS). DrCommeh indicated that of the 16,000 new cancer cases recorded yearly in the country, more than 44 percent results in deaths.

“Data from the Ghana Health Service shows that 3052 cases of cervical cancer were recorded in 2015 out of which 1556 died, representing 51 percent, breast cancer also recorded 2260 cases with 1021 deaths, representing 45 percent, prostate cancer has 912 cases being recorded with 680 deaths, representing 75 percent.

Liver cancer had the highest fatality rate of 97 percent, claiming 1,856 lives out of 1923 cases recorded with 1,000 childhood cancers being recorded,” she said

I break down the findings for urgent national attention.

With liver cancer only 3percent are able to survive it, 49 percent  survive cervical cancer, 55 percent  survive breast cancer and only 25 percent  also do survive prostate cancer. This is very worrying as the country itself has no well-defined national cancer register to be able to collate all the figures. This assessment is based on the Ghana Health Service data in 2015 published in the Daily guide.

National Intervention Needed

From the statistics, though there have been public awareness on cancers, it appears the nation has lost control on the cancer situation on the mortality rate and urgent national attention is needed to address this.  Interestingly, the president, Nana Addo Danquah Akuffo government in their 2016 manifesto promised a special cancer policy, the nation is yet to see any green light.   The government in their manifesto promised to recognize  the increasing incidence of cancers (childhood cancers, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate and other cancers) as a national problem, establish centers at all levels of our healthcare delivery system for screening, diagnosis, early detection and prevention of these cancers, paid for under the restructured and revitalized NHIS. It is time for the government to take action on this campaign promise. Ghana needs a national cancer foundation to start addressing this cancer situation.

The author of this article is urgently calling on the government to us a matter of urgency constituents a committee to start addressing the cancer situation in the country.

 Raphael NyarkoteyObu: Da Vinci college of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca city, Cyprus

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