Over 70 per cent of breast cancer cases diagnosed are in advanced stages, resulting in limited treatment success and high death rates, Dr. Winfred Ofosu, Eastern Regional Director, Ghana Health Service, has said.
Dr. Ofosu said it was disheartening that many women lost their lives through breast cancer, though they could be saved when detected early.
The Eastern Regional Director of Health Services was speaking at a ceremony to commission a mammogram machine at the Volta River Authority (VRA) Hospital at Akosombo in the Easter region.
It was on the theme: “Early detection of breast cancer saves lives-get screened with a mammogram.”
The commissioning is part of efforts to increase breast cancer awareness as Ghana joins the world this month to create awareness on breast cancer for early detection and treatment.
The mammogram machine will serve staff of the Authority and all women within the catchment area.
Dr. Ofosu said Non Communicable Diseases (NCD) such as breast cancer, cervical cancer, hypertension and diabetes were now pervasive and a hidden epidemic killing women one at a time, adding that the VRA’s decision to support with a mammogram machine was in the right direction.
According to the 2020 Globocan report of the World Health Organisation (WHO), breast cancer is the commonest cancer among all sexes and obviously the commonest among female cancers in Ghana. And every year, over 4,000 cases of breast cancer are diagnosed, out of which almost half die from the disease.
Dr. Kwabena Omari Yeboah, Medical Director, VRA Health Service Limited, said statistics indicated that six people died every day in Ghana from breast cancer.
He, therefore, called for the need for self-breast examination and medical screening regularly.
Dr. Joyce Aryee, VRA Board Member, described breast cancer as debilitating, hence the acquisition of the mammogram machine to save lives and called on women above the age of 40 to patronise the services.
Mr Emmanuel Antwi-Darkwa, Chief Executive, VRA, said the Authority’s decision to acquire the equipment was an affirmation of the resolve to prioritise the health of women and bring the needed changes to communities.
He said: “It is unfortunate that some people are so heavily driven by superstition that they attribute medical conditions like breast cancer to spiritual attacks without seeking medical attention.
“We need all hands on deck to educate our daughters, wives, mothers, sisters and friends to take advantage of the facility to know their status.”
Nana Boafo Ansah Prem IV, Chief of Akosombo, encouraged the locals to make good use of the facility and charged religious bodies to educate their followers on breast cancer.