Breast Cancer Is A Silent Disease

Professor Joe Nat Clegg-Lamptey, Head of Surgery and Surgical Department of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital says breast cancer is a “silent disease” and one of the leading cancers in Ghana.

He explained that 2,260 women were diagnosed annually with 1,021 deaths. In addition more than 2000 women in the country would be affected by breast cancer in 2015 with a 1000 deaths if measures are not taken to prevent them.

Prof Clegg-Lamptey named cervical and prostate cancers as the other leading cancers in the sub-region and attributed the high rate of incidence to the adoption of western lifestyles, diet, lack of exercise and exposure to carcinogens and asked Ghanaians to desist from such habits.

He was speaking at a three-day Global health workshop on the theme: “Screening, Prevention, Diagnosis and Management of Breast, Cervical and Prostate Cancers,” in Accra.

The workshop is being organised by the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in USA in collaboration with the Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, University of Ghana and the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital.

The workshop is aimed at identifying priority areas for collaborative research, training and enhancing screening prevention and therapy of breast, cervical and prostate cancers.

It would also create joint clinical research opportunities and build a cadre of well-trained clinical and translational researchers to improve cancer care in Ghana and Nigeria.

Prof Clegg-Lamptey explained that patients reporting to the health facilities are relatively young from 40-49 years and always reported with advanced cancer “but unfortunately, most of them did not follow treatment schedules and die as a result”.

He said treatment is expensive and many absconds also due to myths and misconceptions about the disease that cancer could not be cured. He noted that only the Korle-Bu and Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospitals have been designated as the national Cancer Registries and “these two registries document all cancer cases that are seen”.

He entreated stakeholders to join hands to educate the public that early reporting could save lives while various cancer screening centres are available.
Prof Chukumere Nwogu, a Cancer Epidemiologist at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute said the cancer burden in West Africa is dominated by breast, prostate and cervical cancer with most of them being presented at an advanced stage.

He said despite the growing cancer burden, the disease continue to receive a relatively low public health priority in the sub-region largely because of limited resources and other pressing public health problems, including communicable diseases.

He explained that lack of cancer registry data in the sub-region is a major limitation for evidence-based health decision-making and called for more awareness creation among policy makers, the general public, and both the private or public international health agencies for them to appreciate the magnitude of the current and future cancer burden and its economic impact.l


 

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