The Deputy Minister of Health, Dr Bernard Okoe Boye, has blamed the persistent self-denial by persons diagnosed with breast cancer at the early stages of its development for the increasing fatal cases of the disease in the country.
According to him, 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 that they accept the fact that they have the disease, it is too late,” he added.
Speaking at the launch of this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, also known as “Pink October”, the minister said breast cancer could be treated if detected earlier, and that there was no need to be afraid of it.
The day is marked in countries across the world every year as a means of raising awareness and increasing attention to early detection and treatment as well as palliative care for it.
This year’s event is on the theme: “Detect It, Treat It, Defeat It.”
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.”
The Special Advisor to the Minister of Health, Dr Baffour Awuah, said though the mammogram machine was good in early detection of breast cancer, it was not absolute.
He said the citizenry must be encouraged to resort to clinical examination of the breast as a means for early detection of the disease in women.
Dr Awuah, who is also an Oncologist Specialist, said there was the need to try our best to fight the disease and reduce the fatalities it was causing.
He explained that even though breast cancer was not preventable, its early detection could help save the lives of patients, thus reducing the needless deaths.
“The stakeholders, when it comes to the breast, are many and we must rally to ensure that it is protected,” he said.
BY CLIFF EKUFUL