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International Breast Cancer And Nutrition Project In Ghana Takes Off   
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Purdue University Professors Sophie A. Lelievre and Ellen Gruedbaum have arrived in Africa to meet with officials of Peace and Love Hospitals and Breast Care International (BCI) in Kumasi, Ghana to outline ways to advance a partnership on breast cancer research and awareness from Monday January 16, to Saturday January 20, 2012.

Lelievre, associate professor of basic medical sciences in the school of Veterinary Medicine and Associate Director of Discovery Groups for the Purdue Centre for cancer Research, delivered a keynote lecture on international efforts to prevent breast cancer development to a panel of Ghanaian health and public policy experts.

The incidence of breast cancer has risen rapidly in many African countries, and the World Health Organisation is asking scientists from around the world to help shift efforts from detection towards primary prevention. Many developing countries will not be able to withstand the costs associated with the necessary heavy treatments, especially since women usually consult at advanced stages of the disease.

Professors Lelievre and Gruenbaum, with support from the Purdue Global Policy Research Institute, are researching how legal and cultural aspects impact policy decisions in terms of breast health in countries such as GHANA, Lebanon, France, Japan and Uruguay.

Professor Gruenbaum, a medical anthropologist and Head of Department of Anthropology at the Purdue University in USA, will also work on establishing a collaboration to study cultural and religious practices affecting breast health and dietary patterns.

According to Prof. Gruenbaunm, many African women are dying from breast cancer mainly because of a lack of understanding about the disease’s early symptoms and superstitions about the effects of breast cancer. While the country’s fatality rate from breast cancer is 10th highest in Africa, Ghanaian healthcare officials and some government leaders are working aggressively to raise awareness and educate women about how lives can be saved from early screening and treatment.

While in Ghana Professors Lelievre and Gruenbaum will meet with African breast cancer awareness leader, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe-Addai, Chief Executive Officer of Peace and Love Hospital.

Dr. Wiafe also serves as President of Breast Care International, a non-governmental organization in Ghana and has received awards for her breast cancer awareness efforts. Additionally, Dr. Wiafe-Addai chairs the Susan G. Komen Ghana Race for the Cure and the Ghana Breast Cancer alliance. She is also the Vice President of the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer Council for West Africa known as AORTIC.

Lelievre and Connie Weaver, distinguished professor of foods and nutrition at Purdue, are leading a multinational initiative called the International Breast Cancer and Nutrition Project (IBCN) to learn more about the role that diet and other environmental factors can play to promote or prevent this disease.

Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, President of Breast Care International
IBCN, involving the World Health Organisation and the International Agency for Research on cancer, is focusing initial efforts on the United States and Ghana as well as France, Japan, Uruguay and Lebanon.

Through the project launched in 2010, each country has a dedicated research team focused on a number of milestones and allows scientists to study worldwide diversity in breast cancer rates, dietary patterns and cultural contexts. Ghana’s strong representation on this team is Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai.

The project is bringing together experts in nutrition, basic medical sciences, statistics, cancer epidemiology, communication, public policy, economics, health law, anthropology and medicine to study a variety of factors such as how cellular mechanisms in breast cancer development link to diet, as well as the role public policy plays in a population’s available food source and disease prevention.

Another important objective is to identify the link between different types of breast cancer, nutrition and the epigenome, the latter of which determines how the genome is organized within cells to control the on-and-off switch of genes.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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