Health

More women diagnosed with breast cancer

More than 2,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer in Ghana every year.

According to Dr Beatrice Wiafe-Addai, the Chief Executive Officer of Breast Care International, a non-governmental organisation dedicated to the establishment of breast cancer centres throughout the country, a woman died from the disease somewhere around the world every 68 seconds.

Dr Wiafe-Addai made this disclosure at the media launch of the Susan G. Komen Ghana Race for the Cure of Breast Cancer, in partnership with Breast Care International in Accra on Monday.

Ghana’s race for the cure of breast cancer is expected to attract between 5,000 and 10,000 women, both young and old.

Participants will cover a route from the Kwame Nkrumah Circle to the Accra Sports Stadium, during which they will raise awareness of the disease by distributing flyers on breast cancer.

The funds expected to be raised from the walk are expected to be used to create an electronic database of breast cancer nationwide.

Breast cancer is cancer arising in breast tissue. Cancer is simply a group of abnormal cells that have abnormal growth patterns.

Although breast cancer is primarily a disease of women, almost one per cent of breast cancers occur in men. Age is another critical factor. Breast cancer may occur at any age, though the risk of breast cancer increases with age. The average woman of 30 has one chance in 280 of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years. This chance increases to one in 70 for a woman aged 40, and to one in 40 at age 50. A 60-year-old woman has a one in 30 chance of developing breast cancer in the next 10 years.

Surgery is the mainstay of therapy for breast cancer. The choice of which type of surgery is based on a number of factors, including the size and location of the tumor, the type of tumor and the person’s overall health and personal wishes. Breast-sparing surgery is often possible.

Dr Wiafe-Addai stated that breast cancer could be treated if reported early and advised women to examine their breasts every month and report any new changes they found at health facilities.

She noted that most people afflicted by the disease were below 50 years, of which 99 per cent were females, with 10.2 per cent having a positive family history.

She attributed the alarming figures on the disease to the late presentation of the disease to specialists, the inadequacy of appropriate trained personnel, the lack of infrastructure, the bad attitude among trained personnel and the lack of proper counselling of patients.

“Education needs to be intensified, but research into the reasons for late presentation will help address the reasons responsible for this state of affairs,” she stated.

The Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure of Breast Cancer series began 28 years ago in Dallas, Texas, USA, and now it is recognised as the most successful campaign world-wide targeting the mobilisation of the general public and their awareness of breast cancer.

Since the first race that attracted 800 participants, it has now extended to annual races that attract more than 1.5 million participants and more than 100,000 volunteers.

The race is mainly to celebrate survivors of breast cancer and welcome people of all ages to fight against the disease, which is the most frequently diagnosed disease in the world today and the commonest cause of death among women worldwide.

Source: Daily Graphic/Ghana

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