Seek prevention instead of cure for breast cancer
Dr Beatrice Wiafe, President of Breast Care International (BCI), has encouraged Ghanaian women to pay more attention to prevention of breast cancer so as to help reduce it and to save lives.
"We don't know the cause of the disease so we can't do primary prevention but rather secondary prevention which is early detection.
This is why we are advising more women to do their own breast examination and report when they see something. Not everything is cancer but you can't sit at home and diagnose yourself, so we need to go to the hospital," she advised.
Speaking to the B&FT at the launch of "My Health, a new health insurance policy by Nationwide Medical Health Services, Dr. Wiafe indicated that a nation that thinks about the health of their people, should consider a good health insurance policy.
My Health, a recently insurance policy, that is going to cover breast cancer comprehensively, is a very laudable one. We already have the NHIS, which is supposed to take care of breast cancer treatment but doesnâ€™t cater for the diagnosis and screening," she said.
Dr Wiafe explained that breast cancer is a disease that strikes the black woman earlier than it does in the white woman; about 10years difference.
"A black woman will get breast cancer at the age of 43 on the average, and the white woman will get breast cancer at the age of 60 and above on the average. This means our tumour biology is bit aggressive so we should be more aggressive in screening for disease, by going in early for treatment," she said.
She added that women prone to this generic mutation include menopause women, those who have never had children, and those whom have one child; born after age 33 andwomen with recurrent infections to the breast.
Another factor, contributing to breast cancer development, includes women who have had lump in their breast; either it disappeared on its own or it was removed and those from positive families.
"We may not know the cause but we know the risk factors; being a woman, hereditary; about 10percent of our patients are from positive families."
She also encouraged Ghanaians to have a healthy lifestyle; avoid eating junk food, to reduce risk of breast cancer.