AngloGold Ashanti Iduapriem, has organised a series of breast cancer screenings for about 2,100 women and school children from 19 communities within the mine’s catchment area, as part of activities to commemorate its 2019 Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

The screening, organised in collaboration with the Tarkwa-Nsuaem Municipal Health Directorate of the Ghana Health Services and Hope for All Foundation, a non-governmental organisation was under the theme: “Tell Breast Cancer to Step Aside”.

Two women who were found to be in need of urgent medical attention during the screening exercise, are currently undergoing procedural care at the Tarkwa Municipal Hospital with full support from the company.

The two women are part of 114 women who were referred for further examination and treatment.

Speaking at a grand durbar to climax the Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities, Acting Managing Director for Iduapriem Mine, Mr Stephen Asante Yamoah expressed worry about the alarming increase in breast cancer cases in Ghana and called on the gathering to reach out to families and friends and encourage them to undergo self-breast examination and breast cancer screening for early detection and treatment.  

“We believe there is the need to work collaboratively to fight breast cancer by intensifying health education on signs and symptoms of the disease; breaking the myth about the disease; encouraging self-breast examination and breast screening for early detection and treatment,” Mr Yamoah said.  

He, therefore, called for effective collaboration among all stakeholders to intensify awareness creation on breast cancer and other public health issues within the Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipality.  

The Tarkwa Nsuaem Municipal Health Director, Mr Emmanuel Affelkum, commended the mine for the many interventions and investments it continues to make in the area of health in the municipality. He further called for strengthening of partnership to sustain the level of awareness and urged stakeholders to channel the advocacy towards addressing the knowledge gap, and demystifying breast cancer.

Dr Florence Dedey, Head of Breast Unit in the Department of Surgery at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital and President of Breast Society of Ghana delivered the keynote address and assured the gathering that being diagnosed with breast cancer was not a death sentence. She indicated that there was ample evidence that when breast cancer is diagnosed early and treated effectively there are very good outcomes. She, therefore, called for concerted efforts on the part of stakeholders to save more lives by encouraging early screening and adopting lifestyles such as regular exercise, avoiding obesity, alcohol and smoking which are known to reduce the risk of breast cancer.

The Queen Mother of Wassa Fiase Traditional Area, Nana Kunadjoa II, who chaired the occasion, also added her voice to calls for lifestyle change and urged the mine to extend the programme beyond its catchment area to cover the whole Wassa Fiase Traditional Area.

Madam Mary Duodu, a survivor, gave an emotional narration of her experience and encouraged all present to seek early medical attention when they notice any signs or symptoms.

Other speakers included Dr Bettina K. Boohene-Andah, Medical Director of the Kalbert Clinic, Georgette Sakyi-Addo, Founder and Executive Director of Georgette Barnes LTD and Co-ordinator of Women in Mining Ghana and Juliet Manteaw-Kutin, Head of Legal and Corporate Affairs for AngloGold Ashanti (Ghana) Limited.