As part of moves to educate and promote early detection of breast cancer amongst women, Bridge for Equity Ghana has collaborated with the Medicas Hospital to organise a free breast screening exercise dubbed ‘Pink October Climax’.
The exercise, which started in mid-October by the Medicas Hospital and was climaxed on October 31, in partnership with Bridge for Equity Ghana, successfully screened over 100 women as the world commemorated a month-long awareness creation on breast cancer prevention, early detection and treatment.
Women who trooped in to get screened were also educated on the risk factors of breast cancer, the importance of early detection and treatment as well as self-examination.
In an interview, the founder of Bridge for Equity Ghana, Lilipearl Baaba Otoo, stressed the importance for women to get screened for breast cancer, considering how damaging the end results are.
She lamented on the rate at which women in Ghana and across the globe face untimely deaths due to the preventable disease.
“A whopping 627,000 women have died from breast cancer. This is terrible. This could have easily been prevented if it was detected early. It doesn’t have to get worst. We need our women alive. It is free and I urge all women not to wait for ‘Pink October’ before getting screened. While at home, practice self-examination. Let’s develop the habit of spending on our health. Prevention they say is better than cure,” she added.
On his part, Medical Director and CEO of the Medicas Hospital, Dr. Yaw Osafo, noted that breast cancer affects both men and women, however, women are at a higher risk of it. He said the rate at which the estrogen hormone is produced in women is more as compared to its presence in men.
Research has shown that the estrogen hormone is responsible for dividing cells and therefore the more the cells divide, the most likely they are to be abnormal and have the possibility of turning cancerous.
According to Dr. Yaw Osafo: “We have very little options in terms of cure but the focus now is early detection because the outcomes are better with early detection. In Africa, most people present very late. You will realise that in the western world, even though the numbers are high there, they practice early detection so their rate of death is low as compared to Africa where the numbers are low but death is high.”
He encouraged all women to practice self-examination alongside clinical examinations. He also advised women to know how their normal breasts look like in order to easily detect when there is a change in its structure.
Breast cancer is the most frequent cancer among women, impacting 2.1 million women globally each year. It also causes the greatest number of cancer-related deaths among women.
In Ghana, reported breast cancer cases have risen from a little over 2,900 in 2012 to more than 4,600 in 2018. According to the World Health Organisation, screening and early detection reduce the incidence of breast cancer-related deaths.
Bridge for Equity Ghana is a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) that creates awareness and public education on gender-related issues and contributes to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) with particular focus on goal 4, 5 and 8.
The month of October is set aside globally to increase awareness of breast cancer – its prevention, risk factors and to promote early detection and treatment.