Breast Cancer, A Matter Of Public Concern

In Ghana, breast cancer frequently goes undetected until it has become late stage or it has metastasized to other parts of the body, at which point the chance of survival decreases greatly and treatment becomes less effective. Reasons for delayed presentation include lack of awareness, severe social stigma, fear of diagnosis and treatment, and limited screening and treatment capabilities. It is in view of this that, on the 30th of August 2015, Breast Care International (BCI) in conjunction with Peace and Love Hospitals (PLHs) conducted a free breast cancer education and clinical screening at the Wesley Methodist Church at Bepoase in the Ashanti Region. The program, led by the President and Founder of Breast Care International, who doubles as the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Peace and Love Hospitals, Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai was initiated by the Reverend Minister in Charge, Reverend Andorful. The morning began with the educational component of the day, which included a lecture from Dr. Wiafe Addai on the signs, symptoms, risk factors, methods of investigation and finally, the available treatment options. Participants were shown how to properly perform their own Breast Self-Examination (BSE). The importance of Breast Self-Examination, Dr. Wiafe Addai stressed, is that it facilitates early detection; “Women, she emphasized should know their Breasts”! As breast cancer’s ability to be treated and ultimately cured, is completely dependent on the time, a delay in diagnosis and subsequent treatment can have catastrophic results for a woman and her family. She added that, the late stage presentation of breast cancer to the hospital is still a problem, despite the over a decade of education and awareness creation. Breast Cancer education she stressed must be a dynamic process, hence a matter of public health concern. Participants were given the opportunity to ask questions, for which answers were given. Rev. Andorful on behalf of the church board expressed his gratitude to Dr. Wiafe and her team for their efforts and support. She added “We will ensure that, the women and ladies in the church and community benefit from this screening program every six months’’. The medical team clinically screened all the participants for breast diseases, particularly breast cancer. Some suspected cases were referred for further investigations and management.