Statistics from the Global Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence (GLOBOCAN) database show that Ghana recorded about two thousand and sixty-two (2,062) cases of breast cancer in 2010 and four thousand six-hundred and forty-five (4, 645) in 2018, with the majority below the age of 50.
The term “breast cancer” refers to a malignant tumor that has developed from cells in the breast. Usually breast cancer either begins in the cells of the lobules, which are the milk-producing glands, or the ducts, the passages that drain milk from the lobules to the nipple.
Less commonly, breast cancer can begin in the stromal tissues, which include the fatty and fibrous connective tissues of the breast. Speaking to participants at the Breast Cancer International (BCI) Ghana walk for the cure in Tamale, the Founder and President of BCI, Dr Beatrice Wiafe- Addai said breast cancer happens to be the leading cause of death among women in the world, putting every woman at the risk of developing breast cancer.
According to Dr Wiafe- Addai, breast cancer has moved from becoming a public health concern to a developmental issue, saying the country is losing a lot of young women to the disease which, she says, is unacceptable.
She said the disease is curable when it is only detected at the early stage and advised women to go for regular checkups. She also encouraged men whose wives are with the disease to give them the necessary support that they need.
"People, especially women, should disregard the myths and misconceptions surrounding the disease," she said.
The historic Tamale walk, the first in the northern sector of the country, was on the theme; "There is hope for a cure; together we are stronger than cancer; join us."
This international event attracted the participation of politicians, the clergy, school children, members of the Ghana Cancer Board, members of the Ghana NCD Alliance, teachers, farmers, non-governmental and civil society organizations as well as participants within and outside the country.
Hundreds of breast cancer survivors were showcased in a spectacular display, with some holding placards, indicating the number of years they’ve survived the disease. They added their voice to the call on policy makers to make the fight against cancers a top priority. The wife of northern regional minister, Hajia Halima Sagito Saeed, who was also present, entreated participants to create more awareness about the disease, especially in the rural areas, since access to information is a problem.
BY: LILIAN D. WALTER