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Students Of Spiritan University Undergo Breast Cancer Education & Clinical Screening
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On Wednesday the 17th March 2015, students from Spiritan University in Ejisu visited Peace and Love Hospital (PLH) and Breast Care International (BCI) to learn about an important aspect of the current healthcare situation in Ghana.  

Upon arrival to the Kumasi premises of the hospital, the students were given a guided tour to explore the facilities available and also the medical services offered to the general public. 

The tour concluded at the conference hall of the hospital where the Chief Executive Officer, and the President of Breast Care International, Dr (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai officially welcomed them. 

Using a PowerPoint presentation, the doctor delivered a detailed lecture on the breast cancer situation in Ghana, introducing the students to the activities of Breast Care International and the vision that necessitated the establishment of the organization and its pioneering role in advocacy, awareness creation and early detection. 

Throughout her practice as a Breast Consultant, Dr Wiafe Addai explained that she has witnessed the stark reality of breast diseases in Ghana. 

Breast cancer in particular is typically reported at the advanced stages, when effective treatment and curability becomes virtually impossible. 

The students were informed that initial research has indicated that ignorance is responsible for the consistent late presentations of women to medical facilities.  Additionally, the myths and misconceptions that currently surround the disease in Ghana have been one of the most significant barriers to the administration of effective treatment and the successful prevention of deaths. 

Fate, curses and spiritual orientations are not the causes of this disease she explained, but rather they facilitate the consistent late presentation of women that is ensuring current high mortality rates within Ghana.

The doctor revealed that whilst breast cancer cases are surging globally, mortality in Europe and North America has remained relatively low, while Africa, South America and some parts of Asia consistently observe high mortality rates. 

Consequently, the determination to make a change, to empower women with the correct knowledge about the disease, and to also stop needless deaths led to the formation of BCI over a decade ago. 

The students were urged to recognize that prompt action has to be taken to avoid these needless deaths amongst women, who are often the economic backbone of the home, and play a central role in the development of the nation.

Those in attendance were provided with concrete examples of advanced cases of breast cancer that had undergone treatment at PLH. 

She advised that a lack of counselling, inadequate treatment, high costs of medication and a lack of access to treatment facilities are just some of the barriers that prevent women from seeking help from the appropriate avenues at the appropriate times. 

It was explained that BCI and PLH hope to address the problem of inadequate and incorrect treatment with the permanent establishment of an oncology training program at the hospital. Approximately 80 nurses have already been trained.

In addition, Dr Wiafe Addai explained that PLH regularly conducts outreaches in the urban and remote parts of Ghana where hundreds of women are educated and given a free clinical breast screening by the medical team. 

It was also mentioned that a breast cancer campaign has also been taken to students of senior high schools across the country to provide them with adequate and effective knowledge about the disease, and the appropriate signs to look for as they grow into adulthood. 


These students are also empowered to then serve as educators in both their homes and also their communities.

Closing the educational component of the program, Dr Wiafe Addai stated that while there is still a long way to go in the fight against breast cancer, she is optimistic that the work both of BCI and PLH will make an important difference in the lives of Ghanaian women.

She also mentioned the important role that breast cancer survivors currently play in the awareness creation and educational exercises of both organisations, “we do as much as we can to let the Ghanaian people know that our women are breast cancer survivors,” she said.

The interactive nature of the presentation allowed questions to be asked by the students to which Dr Wiafe Addai readily answered. The leader of the students, on behalf of the delegation thanked the CEO and the staff for their warm reception and looked forward to future engagements. Breast sense kits were presented to each student to aid in frequent Breast Self-Examination.

These kits included educational information in the form of a DVD and booklet, a gel glove that is designed to make self-examination easier and more comfortable, and finally a carrier pouch that ensures the longevity of the glove over its lifespan.

The program concluded with all of the students being clinically screened for breast abnormalities, and referred for further investigations if necessary.
Source: Peacefmonline.com

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