Source: GhanaWeb. November 5th, 2012
Reported cases of breast cancer at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) have increased from 320 cases every year as at 2007 to over 400 cases between 2008 and 2012.
According to the head of the Department of Surgery at the hospital, Professor Joe Nat Clegg-Lamptey, the disease is increasing in incidence, adding that the World Health Organization (WHO) had estimated that Ghana had 2,000 new cases of breast cancer in 2008.
At Korle Bu about 248 cases were reported at the surgical out-patient department in 2011 alone, of which most cases had reached advanced stages and therefore little could be done about them,” he said.
Prof. Clegg-Lamptey said even though breast cancer cases had increased by 25 per cent in the last five years, it was significant if one considered the fact that there were many other cancers.
“If we consider the fact that breast cancer is only about 16 per cent of all female cancers, then the cancer problem is significant in terms of numbers being diagnosed,” he said.
He said most breast cancer patients in Ghana were between the ages of 40 to 49 years, adding that even young women between the ages of 20 and 24 years were presenting with advanced stages of the disease, a situation he described as alarming.
According to him, the causative factors for the increase in the disease burden included poor knowledge about the disease, late detection and diagnosis, delays in treatment.
He mentioned certain negative lifestyle patterns such as poor eating habits, lack of frequent exercising, which could lead to obesity, particularly in women, thus enhancing their risk levels, and added that “people with strong family histories of breast cancer are at risk.”
The objective of the foundation, which will soon be launched by President John Mahama, is to provide financial assistance to Ghanaian patients who are unable to afford the cost of treatment.
A member of the board of trustees of the foundation and chairman of the Sweden Ghana Medical Center, Dr. Henry Broni-Amponsah said the foundation would focus on providing financial assistance for cancer patients in areas such as screening and diagnosis, chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatment.
“Assistance from the foundation to need cancer patients will cover the cost of drugs, consumables, consultation and other related charges with regard to treatment initiated by the Sweden Ghana Medical Center,” he explained.
Dr. Broni-Amponsah said the foundation will embark on nationwide educational campaign to sensitize the public on the need for early detection of cancer.
He appealed to the general public to provide funding for needy cancer patients by sending their donations to the foundation.