Dr Clegg Lamptey Consultant Surgeon at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital has admonished Ghanaians, especially women, to adopt a healthy lifestyle to help stem the increasing rate of breast cancer cases in the country.
Speaking on Joy FM’s Super Morning Show on Tuesday, he said although there are “multitude of factors” that predispose women to breast cancer, unchecked eating habit equivalent to the western lifestyle increases the risk of breast cancer.
“Although we are saying that we have very high incidence in this country, compared to the West or the US, actually, our incidence is quite low. One woman in the USA out of eight will develop breast cancer in their lives.
“So our incidence is not as bad [as compared to the Western countries], but obviously we are adopting their lifestyles and therefore we are approaching what they are having.”
He mentioned alcohol and lack of exercise as some of the known behavioural causes of breast cancer. He also noted that some people are born with the gene, adding for “such a person, there is very little we can do about it, apart from trying to detect it early.”
Dr Lamptey, who is also the Head of the Breast Cancer Department at the hospital said having menstruating at an early age, oral contraceptives – hormone estrogens -, late birth (having your first baby at an older age) and childlessness, could lead to breast cancer.
He asked women to at least examine their breast every month and report to the hospital when they detect any change in their breast for early treatment, or better still visit health facilities for regular screening.
He warned that failure to seek early treatment would make treatment very difficult.
Dr. lamptey explained that in most of Ghanaian women, “…the majority of breast cancer we see are very advanced, which means they were fully aware that there was something happening in their breasts, so there is an attitude that [we] have got to change among our own people.”
He disabused the perception that breast cancer is caused by witchcraft, saying it is like any other disease caused by human activities.
Dr Lamptey said even though men develop symptoms of the disease, they are negligible, “but we (men) are still exposed to the genetic bit and we are still exposed to fat and all those things.”
Dr Lamptey said even though Ghana has no cancer registry to collate data on breast cancer, according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), more than 2,000 women are diagnosed with breast cancer every year in Ghana.
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.
Story by Isaac Essel/Myjoyonline.com/Ghana