Hon. Helen Adjoa Ntoso, Member of Parliament for Krachi West Constituency in the Oti Region, has urged the Ministry of Health to consider the plight of residents of Island communities in its Breast Cancer awareness campaign in the country.
According to her, residents, especially women in Island communities in the Krachi West and other parts of the country are virtually left out from the Breast Cancer awareness campaign by experts and only concentrate in the Districts.
Hon Ntoso made the call while contributing to a joint statement made by Hon Sara Adwoa Sarfo and Dr Bernard Oko-Boye on the floor of parliament on Wednesday, October 23, to commemorate the World Breast Cancer Month.
The month of October has been observed annually as a Breast Cancer awareness campaign month throughout the world.
The campaign is aimed at increasing breast cancer awareness, early detection and survivor support.
It also connects emerging cancer and health institutions to strengthen other non-governmental organizations to improve programmes and services for affected people.
The theme for this year awareness campaign is on the theme: “Early Detection is the Best Protection.”
Currently, in Ghana, the cost of screening is driven many patients away, especially the poor because it is not covered by the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), though it’s treatment is covered when detected.
Available statistics also indicated the disease is on the rise globally and Ghana is not an exception.
For instance, the World Health Organisation (WHO) reports on Breast Cancer in 2012, recorded a prevalence rate of 2,0062 cases, while 4,0450 cases reported in 2018.
This, Hon Ntoso said early detection is the best and the campaign led by the Health Ministry and the Ghana Health Services (GHS) intensify the campaign and extend same to the remote communities, where ignorance on the disease is still high.
She said because of the geographical location of the island communities, the awareness campaigners only concentrate in the towns, leaving them to become more vulnerable to the disease.
Nonetheless, Hon Ntoso urged her fellow women to reports to health centres whenever they detect abnormalities which are signs and symptoms of the disease.
She also encouraged men who love suckling their partner’s breast to support them to seek expert advice anytime they detect unusual discharged of breast milk from their breast.
Other MPs, especially the medical experts also identified delay in early treatment as a result of some men or husbands, deciding on where and when their wife’s who are breast cancer patients go for treatment.
Dr Zanetor Agyeman-Rawlings, MP for Klottey Korle, and Dr Oko-Boye advised all especially women to examine their breast regularly for early detection of the disease.
Dr Nana Ayew Aftiyie, MP for Effiduase-Asokore said besides breast cancer cervical cancer is another major cancer in women.
He said Breast and Cervical cancers are considered the most potentially preventable and curable among chronic and life-threatening diseases and urged Ghanaian women to regularly check their breast in health facilities.
Dr Sebastian Sandaare, MP for Dafiama/Bussie/Issa, said breast cancer has become number one killer of women globally but believed that the continued awareness campaign would help educate member of the public about the danger of the disease.
According to Dr Sandaare, a cure for breast cancer exists but many wallows in self-deception and self-denial leading to death.
Speaker of Parliament, Rt Hon Prof Mike Oquaye charged Dr Zanetor and Dr Oko-Boye to take up the challenges and formulate a policy that would help parliament to help its members and staff to screen on the disease.
Some experts also attributed the absence of good and reliable data and population-based breast cancer registry as an impediment of production of an accurate picture of the cancer burden in Ghana.
The inability to have these vital resources, they said is affecting policy formulation, advocacy and education to fight and control breast cancer in the country.
Others also identified stigmatization and outmoded culture values as some of the impediment to the fight against breast cancer.
However, they are still the major cause of deaths worldwide.
Cancer, which is one of the emerging diseases in Africa, according to experts, occurs in about 200 types of diseases making the complexity of the cancer story, especially in the developing world, accounting for at least 72 per cent of the approximately eight million deaths worldwide.
Source: therepublicnewsonline.com/Felix Nyaaba