Public Relations agency, Mahogany Consult, as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility and to promote good neighborliness has organized a one-day free breast screening session for students and staff of Ghana Hostels Limited, University of Ghana, to raise awareness, and promote early detection of breast cancer cases.
The exercise was carried out with support from Ghana Hostels Limited and in collaboration with Sinel Specialist Hospital, from Tema, to mark Breast Cancer Awareness month this October by encouraging women to be attentive to their bodies, do regular breast self-examination and get screened to prevent the loss of lives to breast cancer.
Participants were screened and examined by Sinel Specialist Hospital medical team, for signs such as; lump or thickening in the breast, swelling and redness of skin of the breast, a discharge from the nipple, a rash or peeling of the skin on the breast, pain in one spot of the breast, and a change in the size or shape of the breast among other diagnosis and tests.
Esi Essuman-Johnson, Principal Consultant of Mahogany Consult said the breast screening exercise, dubbed ‘October4Her,’ was expedient because despite the increasing awareness about breast cancer, the disease still remains one of the major causes of death among women in Ghana. She urged women not to shy away from such screening opportunities but rather come out confidently and get screened or seek immediate medical guidance when necessary.
“Mahogany Consult believes a healthy people make for a productive and thriving society, hence the reason for this breast screening exercise. There’s plenty of information available to learn about breast cancer; we need to keep our lifestyles in proper check while also paying more attention to the changes in our bodies. Breast cancer is curable and no woman should die of breast cancer,” she said.
In a statement, Dr. Michael McCarthy, CEO of Sinel Specialist Hospital and consultant Obstetrician/Gynecologist, states that “breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in Ghana and timely screening can lead to earlier diagnosis and treatment. Though breast cancer starts in the breast, it tends to spread to other parts of the body as well”
“Screening for breast cancer helps with early detection and therefore early treatment. However, women tend to avoid this due to a variety of reasons like: fear of diagnosis, ignorance about screening, financial challenges, fear of the mammogram exam, too busy, not a priority and lack of awareness to name a few,” he said.
Dr. McCarthy stated that breast cancer is caused by three prevailing risk factors which are: being female, age above 50 years and previous history of breast cancer. He therefore urged women to save their breasts by going for breast cancer screening and starting the treatment early should the cancer be detected. “Men, husbands, brothers, sons, and fathers; encourage women to examine their own breast once a month and have a wealth workers’ examination once a year and if over 40 years should have a mammogram once every year,” he added.
For many of the students and staff, this was the first time they were being screened for signs and symptoms of breast cancer as well as receiving some education on the condition.
I learnt a lot about my body, my cycle and the need for me to check up regularly. It was educative and insightful and I am grateful to Mahogany Consult for this superb initiative of bringing the breast screening to our door step,” stated Ewura Adwoa Brew, a student of the University of Ghana.
Mr Samuel Nkansah, Deputy CEO of Ghana Hostels Limited said the event was beneficial to staff especially the low income earners.
“Most of our cleaners here do not have money to get screened and are not sensitized on breast cancer and the need to be screened regularly. This is a laudable initiative and we were happy to be a part of and to support the initiative.”
Breast Cancer Awareness Month
The month of October is dedicated to raising awareness of the risks of Breast Cancer and how treatment can be provided to affected individuals and families.
According to the World Cancer Research Fund, this year alone (2018) breast cancer was the most common female cancer diagnosed worldwide with 2,088,849 recorded cases, contributing to about 12.3% of the total number of all cancers diagnosed.
In an October 2017 report according to Professor Joe Nat Clegg Lamptey, Head of the Korle-Bu hospital breast cancer multidisciplinary team, 2,200 women are yearly diagnosed with breast cancer in Ghana, and only 25% of women diagnosed are cured, with the rest dying from it within 5 years; because the vast majority of women who are diagnosed with breast cancer present with advanced stages of the disease on initial visit.