The University of Ghana Medical Centre (UGMC) has launched a free breast cancer treatment and awareness campaign for the month of October.
The UGMC breast cancer awareness campaign is scheduled to run throughout the month of October 2020, during which period the general public can walk into the facility on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays for free screening and treatment, even though the facility is restricted to referrals only.
Chief Executive officer-UGMC, Dr. Darius Osei, in his address at the campaign launch expressed the need to embark on such a project – indicating that breast cancer is the primary cause of cancer death among women globally, and has now become the most diagnosed cancer among women in Ghana.
He added that about 70 percent of Ghanaian women diagnosed with breast cancer are in advanced stages of the disease due to low awareness – resulting in Limited treatment success and high death rates, which is a worrying trend that must be addressed with all urgency.
“Early diagnosis of breast cancer is therefore crucial in its successful management and control, and it is for this reason that Breast Cancer Awareness Month is commemorated every year to emphasise the importance of early screening and detection to the general public.
“At UGMC, we seek to offer sub-specialty level health services to both Ghanaians and non- Ghanaians; and so we are particularly passionate about diagnosing this dreadful disease as early as possible in our women – more specifically as recent studies are revealing that in Ghana and other sub-Saharan countries, the disease is becoming common among women ages 35 years and below,” he said.
This early screening and detection, he emphasized, is to ensure that they are able to identify it in order to provide them with the specialised care they need for better outcomes.
Professor of Surgery, UG Medical School and Consultant Surgeon, Joe Nat Clegg-Lamptey, on his part indicated that there is a need to change the strategy adopted for tackling breast cancer by making treatment accessible to all – which can be achieved by having the needed facilities in place at local communities, having personnel at post to attend patients, having drugs available always, and targetting the awareness-messages to the right people in languages they can understand in their simplest form.
He further stated that the increase in number of breast cancer cases over the years is not because the country is not doing something right, but the death rate is what must be addressed because in advanced countries the survival rate is high due to early detection and treatment; and that is what the country should be targetting.
“Some of the factors driving breast cancer’s rate high are reproductive factors; these days, girls are having their menstruation at an early age, which is a risk factor. A lot of ladies are also giving birth late due to education – having fewer children, breastfeeding reduced because of work, and the food being eaten in recent times are all risk-factors due to chemicals used, and so it is expected that more people will get breast cancer; but if we are able to detect early for treatment, most of them will survive it,” he reiterated.