Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer, but care for people with the disease has improved, and so have survival rates.
According to the Global Cancer Observatory, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among women in Ghana, with 4,482 cases and 2,055 deaths in 2020.
Though the incidence is lower in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) than in North America, current estimates suggest cases increase.
In rural Ghana, people with breast cancer are less susceptible to early diagnosis and treatment.
President of Breast Care International (BCI), Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has said it is important to understand the rural-urban disparities in breast cancer diagnosis and treatment to ensure that women do not die from a preventable and curable disease.
“We should tilt our activities (to rural communities) so that those people in these deprived communities will benefit from the free education and screening offered.
The point at which cancer is diagnosed determines the impact on treatment, recovery, and survival. The earlier breast cancer is detected and treated, the higher the survival rate. Unfortunately, rural women are less likely to be screened for breast cancer than urban women,” she noted.
Speaking at Adwafo, a community near Kuntenase in the Ashanti Region, noted that women in the rural areas cannot afford to travel, prevent, and treat breast cancer or follow-up on an abnormal mammogram than their colleagues in the urban areas.
Dr Addai said that immediate follow-up after abnormal screening is crucial to treating cancer.
“We believe that where a woman lives should not determine whether she should survive or die from breasts cancer, so we need to send the information to those in the communities. For example, do we have any palliative units and caregivers in these areas? We then need to educate the people and train more nurses to be stationed there to offer medical care to breast cancer patients,” she implored.
Breast Care International has embarked on a rural community outreach program to educate and sensitise rural folks.
John Davies of Compass Ghana, Katie Eccles, registered nurse specialist, both UK nationals and the medical team from Peace and Love Hospital, were part of those who provided the free breast cancer screening and education.
According to Dr Addai, the organisation needs support to reach out to the public and victims.
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