Professor Edwin K. Wiredu, Pro-Vice-Chancellor of University of Health and Allied Science in Ho, on Monday urged the public to discard the notion that cancer is a death sentence.
“Advances in understanding risk and prevention, early detection and treatment, have revolutionized the management of cancer leading to improved outcome for patients,” he added.
Prof Wiredu said this at the celebration of the World Cancer Day in Accra on the theme: “Dispelling the Damaging Myths and Misconceptions about Cancer”.
The programme was supported by the Ministry of Health, Ghana Society of Cancer and UT Bank.
He said with few exceptions, early stage cancers were less lethal and more treatable than late stage cancers and encouraged all to do well to report to the hospital for screening.
Prof Wiredu stressed that cancer is not just a health issue but has a wide-reaching social, economic, development and human rights implications and that approximately 47 per cent of cancer cases and 55 per cent of cancer deaths occur in less developed regions of the world.
Dr Clement Adusa, Managing Director at the Radiation Oncology, Department of Radiotherapy at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, appealed to the public to avoid the myth that cancer is a disease of the wealthy and developed countries.
He said cancer is a global epidemic which affects all ages and socio-economic groups with developing countries bearing a disproportionate burden and that 50 per cent of cancer in developing countries occurs in individuals less than 65 years of age.
He added that prevention was the most cost-effective and sustainable way of reducing the global cancer burden in the long-term and that tobacco used had been estimated to kill one billion people in the 21st Century.
Dr Adusa called for national policies and programs that would promote lifestyles and reduce cancers caused by risk factors such as alcohol, unhealthy diet and physical inactivity.
Dr Sylvester Animana, Chief Director at the Ministry of Health, said the theme was important because cancer is a public problem and 12.7 per cent in Africa would develop cancer before the age of 75 years.
He said childhood cancer is not only medical but social issue and advocated basic environmental standard through effective education and collaboration with other agencies to ensure strict enforcement of the law.
Mrs Pearl Essuah-Mensah, Deputy Managing Director of UT Bank, expressed satisfaction for the collaboration in the celebration of World Cancer Day.
She said her outfit had launched a project dubbed: “Pledge Pink Campaign for Cancer”.
She said the idea was to create awareness about the prevention and management of breast cancer in the country and provide hope and be able to save more lives through promoting screening for early detection.