The Minister of Defence, Dominic Nitiwul, has called for increase in awareness creation,to tackle the myth surrounding breast cancer.
According to the minister, the rate of deaths associated with breast cancer was on the rise and there was the need for awareness creation, to help prevent such deaths.
Mr Nitiwulmade the call in a speech read on his behalf, yesterday, at the launch of breast cancer awareness creation and health walk, at the Duala Medical CenterBurma Camp, Accra.
The event which was held on the theme “early detection was key” was aimed at sensitising women within the Burma Camp and surrounding areas on the need for early breast screening.
Mr Nitiwul said “The emphasis is to equip men and women with enough information on the disease, encourage them to go for check-ups which include screening and talk to specialists when there are red flags”.
He condemned stigmatisation of the disease and encouraged women to seek early medication and detect any sign of breast cancer to reduce the rate of the disease.
“It is only when people are informed that they will know the steps to take to ensure that they are in a good state of health,” Mr Nitiwul said.
He said the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) covers breast cancer treatment, but there was no policy on breast screening in Ghana, a situation he said needed attention.
The Minister for Defence said globally one in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer and half of such women lose their lives because of late diagnoses while one in every hundred men were likely to have breast cancer in their lifetime
Mr Nitiwul said although breast cancer had no identifiable cause, there were risk factors such as hereditary, gender, race obesity,smoking and alcohol adding that it could be detected early by regularly screening.
He mentioned that statistics from the World Health Organisation indicated that ever year, breast cancer killed more than 5,000 women around the world and majority of the disease were being diagnosed at an advanced stage resulting in low survival rate
Mr Nitiwul said in 2020, out of the over two million diagnosed with breast cancer, there were 685,000 deaths worldwide, which accounted for 25 per cent of all cancer patients.
The Deputy Director of the Ghana Health Service, Dr Anthony Adofo Ofosu, said the unfortunate perception about the disease was that it was associated with death and also an erroneous impression that surgical treatment of the disease was leading to death.
Due to that, he said there was an open denial, stigma as well as supernatural and spiritual explanation to the disease, which had led to unnecessary delays in seeking care from the right places.
Dr Ofosu commended the Duala Medical Centre for the initiative, and called on women especially to ensure they have their breasts screened.
BY JEMIMA ESINAM KUATSINU