Over-dependence on emergency contraceptives is risky – Oncologist

Dr Anita Owusu-Afriyie, an Oncologist at the International Maritime Hospital (IMaH) in Tema has cautioned women against the abuse of emergency contraceptives as they can cause cancers in the future.

Dr Owusu-Afriyie gave the advice at the launch of, “Your Health! Our Concern!,” a Ghana News Agency Tema Regional Office initiative to provide a platform to explore the parameters of the four approaches to health communication- informative, educating, persuasive, and prompting.

She stressed that frequent use of emergency contraceptives was harmful to women with conditions classified as medical eligibility criteria (MEC) category 2, 3, or 4 for combined hormonal contraception or Progestin-only contraceptives (POC).

“Frequent use of emergency contraception can result in increased side-effects, such as menstrual irregularities, although their repeated use poses no known health risks,” she noted.

She explained that just like other oral contraceptives, it worked through the increase of hormones in the body increasing the risk of users’ contracting cancers, especially breast cancer which was common in Ghana.

She emphasized that emergency contraceptives were meant for emergency purposes and not for everyday use, “If you are relying on emergency contraception as your main form of birth control, speak to health professionals about your options.”

She also encouraged young women to consider either abstaining or use of condoms as a form of protection instead of the abuse of the emergency contraceptive to avoid putting themselves at risk.

Speaking on the topic: “Some cancers and how to prevent them,” Dr Owusu-Afriyie explained that cancer is caused by certain changes to genes, the basic physical units of inheritance.

She said, “Cancer is a genetic disease—that is, it is caused by changes to genes that control the way our cells function, especially how they grow and divide.”

Mr Francis Ameyibor, Tema Regional Manager of the Ghana News Agency said the “Your Health! Our Concern!” platform would provide active media advocacy channels for healthcare professionals to communicate promotional health information to disseminate public health issues and health education.

He said the platform was to leverage GNA’s communication expertise together with the health professional’s skills to educate the public to understand that the health of everyone matters and should therefore be the concern of all.

“GNA- Your Health! Our Concern! also seeks to set the medium for the propagation of health information to influence personal health choices by improving health literacy,” noted.

Source: GNA

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