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Free Breast Cancer Screening in Ghana This Month

by Victor Adetimilehin

Ghana is joining the global campaign to raise awareness and fight breast cancer, a disease that kills thousands of women every year. The Ministry of Health has announced that all public health facilities will offer free breast cancer screening for the month of October.

Breast cancer is a condition where abnormal cells grow uncontrollably in the breast tissue and form tumors. If not detected and treated early, the tumors can spread to other parts of the body and become fatal. According to the World Health Organization, breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide, accounting for 25% of all cases. In 2020, it was estimated that 2.3 million women were diagnosed with breast cancer and 685,000 died from it.

In Ghana, breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer deaths among women, after cervical cancer. The Ghana Health Service reported that in 2019, there were 4,645 new cases of breast cancer and 2,269 deaths. The majority of the cases were diagnosed at a late stage, when treatment options were limited and costly.

The Ministry of Health said that the free screening initiative was part of its efforts to reduce the burden of breast cancer in the country and improve the survival rate of patients. The ministry urged all women, especially those above 40 years old, to visit any public health facility and check their breast status. It also advised women to perform self-examination at home every month and report any changes or lumps to a health professional.

The ministry said that some factors that increase the risk of developing breast cancer include age, obesity, alcohol consumption, family history, radiation exposure, reproductive history, tobacco use and hormone therapy. However, it also noted that about half of the cases occur in women who have no identifiable risk factor other than being female and older.

The ministry said that treatment for breast cancer depends on the type and stage of the disease and may involve surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, hormone therapy or targeted therapy. It said that early detection and treatment can significantly improve the chances of survival and reduce the complications and side effects.

The ministry also commended the civil society organizations and partners that are collaborating with it to organize various activities to mark the breast cancer awareness month. These include education campaigns, advocacy programs, fundraising events and solidarity walks. The ministry said that it was committed to working with all stakeholders to ensure that breast cancer becomes a thing of the past in Ghana.

Source: Graphic Online

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