A Professor of Surgery at the University of Ghana Medical Centre, (UGMC), Prof. Joe Nat Clegg-Lamptey, has said that there is the need for re-examination of strategies that have been used in breast cancer education and awareness to increase turn out of early presentation of breast cancer patients in hospitals.
That, he said, was because breast cancer kept increasing in Ghana with most of the patients coming in at the late stages of the disease.
Prof. Clegg-Lamptey was speaking at the launch of breast cancer awareness month organised by the UGMC to educate and promote awareness of breast cancer within the operational area of the hospital.
He noted that education and awareness of breast cancer was on the high, however, it was not translating into patients presenting themselves at health facilities at the early stages of the disease and that was rather alarming.
He urged organisations and groups which advocate for education to look out for the reason and channel the findings into subsequent messages and programmmes in order to increase the number of early presentations at health centres, hence increasing the rate of survival of cancer in the country.
The month-long education, awareness and screening programme championed by the centre will be done on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays of every week throughout the month and will be open to the public for free screening which will include physical examination, mammogram and ultrasound and consultation sessions.
The theme for the UGMC breast cancer awareness month is “Love your breast, get screened and save your life”.
Prof. Clegg-Lamptey advised women above 40 to ensure that they went through breast examinations which should include physical examination, mammogram or ultrasound and consultations to ensure early detection and treatment.
“No two breast cancers are the same so if you don’t visit a health facility for effective examination, you would not be able to diagnose the disease”, he added.
He also urged women to take notice of changes in their breasts and report them to health facilities rather than resort to people or places which did not have the qualification to handle such cases.
Prof. Clegg-Lamptey also appealed to the government and the Ministry of Health to work on providing both financial and logistics support to health facilities so that effective treatment could be accessed in the country.
He also appealed to women to conduct personal self-examinations often to detect early anomalies in their breasts.
“Love your breast, get screened and save your life, put away any fear whatsoever, be bold and get screened for effective treatment for survival”.
“Breast cancer is curable so let’s all push for our women to get treated at the early stages for survival,” he stressed.
For his part, the Chief Executive Officer of the UGMC, Dr Darius Osei, entreated family members and loved ones to be strong and have a positive outlook when someone close to them was diagnosed with breast cancer.
He said when family members had a positive outlook, it helped patients to have the right mental attitude and fortitude to fight the disease.
He noted that as a health facility that offered sub-speciality level health services to both Ghanaians and non-Ghanaians, the UGMC was passionate about diagnosing breast cancer as early as possible in women as studies were revealing that the disease was becoming common among women aged 35 and below.
“We want to be able to diagnose women on time to provide them with the specialised care they need for better outcomes”.