Ghanaians have been urged to avoid stigmatizing breast cancer survivors and support them to educate more people to allay fears on the disease.
Dr Josephine Nsaful, a General Surgeon of the Breast Surgical Unit, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), said there were many breast cancer survivors in the country but they shunned public engagements due to the stigma, thereby making a lot more to suffer in silence and fear.
In an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) in Accra, Dr Nsaful said it was important that people stopped that attitude as it was making the number of new cases shoot up.
She said breast cancer was the commonest female cancer in Ghana, which mostly affected women between age 40 and 49, but ladies as young as 20 years could get the disease and, therefore, the need for all to get checked.
The Surgical Unit alone records about 400 new cases every year and the World Health Organisation estimates show that more than 4,000 new cases were diagnosed in 2018.
“This means that the number of new cases have doubled for the past few years,” she said, and that early detection would do the magic as the alternative treatments did not help.
“For this reason, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, throughout the month of October, will be offering free breast cancer screening to enhance the fight against the disease.”
“Women can walk into the Department of Surgical OPD at 1400 hours every day without a card or a folder to examine their breasts and receive advice accordingly.”
“If we find or detect something abnormal, which might not be cancer per se, then you will be advised to take a folder for the appropriate treatment to start,” she said.
The month-long free screening is on the theme: “You Can Beat Breast Cancer, Many have Survived It,” being carried out in all the teaching hospitals across the country as well as some government and private hospitals in Accra.
Dr Nsaful said there would be sporadic outreach programmes on the disease in churches, institutions, schools, mosques, and the malls among other institutions to sensitize the public.
She said KBTH was in arrangement with Paradise Diagnostic Centre to give 50 per cent discount on mammograms and scans throughout the month.
Sonotech Hospital is also giving 50 per cent discount on ultrasound for people who patronised its services.