Ghana yesterday launched this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also known as “Pink October”, with the admonition that the disease can be cured if detected early.
The month of October every year is, therefore, set aside as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, to campaign and increase awareness of the disease in all parts of the world.
This year’s event is on the theme: “Detect It, Treat It, Defeat It.”
It is also an effort to increase knowledge and reduce the stigma of breast cancer through education on symptoms and treatment.
According to the health experts, when breast cancer is detected early, and is in the localised stage, the relative survival rate is about 99 per cent.
Early detection through doing monthly breasts self-examinations, and scheduling regular clinical breast exams and mammograms, they claim, reduces the risk of death.
Unfortunately, in Ghana, the situation is that persistent self-denial by persons diagnosed with breast cancer at the early stages of its development has led to increased fatality cases of the disease.
Speaking at the launch of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month in Accra, Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, said there were instances where some women diagnosed with breast cancer at the benign stage refused to seek medical attention for fear of death.
“Self-denial is a major problem militating against the fight against breast cancer in the country. It is sad that even where people are diagnosed with the disease at the early stages where treatment can easily be sought, they leave in self-denial and by the time they accept the fact that they have the disease, it is too late,” he added.
Dr Boye said the government was committed to ensuring universal healthcare in the country, adding that, “Already the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) caters for the screening and provision of medicine for breast cancer in the country.”
Indeed, it is important for everyone to join the breast cancer campaign because we are told that one in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime.
What it means is that we are all in it together and since we cannot prevent cancer, it is important to be proactive about it and one can do so with adequate knowledge.
The Breast Cancer Awareness Month should, therefore, serve as a powerful reminder that we are all in this together, and our collective efforts have the power to protect the most vulnerable, especially breast cancer patients among us.
It is also important to remind all women to constantly assess their breast cancer risks to ensure early detection and treatment.
Breast cancer, we are told, could be treated if detected earlier; therefore, there is no need to be afraid if diagnosed with it.