Superintendent of Police Effia Tenge, Director of Public Affairs, Volta Regional Command, Ghana Police, has called for breast cancer awareness creation to be an all-year-round activity beyond the month of October, to save more lives.
She explained that breast cancer was one of the leading causes of death among women, so it was important to intensify the campaign beyond October to get people checked and to have healthy women to accelerate the development of the nation.
Mrs Tenge said continuous education was key to providing people with the right information not only about the risk factors, but also the consequences and the need to adopt a safe attitude to prevent the disease.
She was speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during a breast cancer awareness sensitisation and free breast screening for ladies from the Police, Fire, Prison and Immigration Services, and the military.
The programme was organised by the Volta Chapter of the Police Ladies Association (POLAS-Volta) under the Pink Officer Breast Cancer Talk and Screening Project and dubbed: “My Breast, My Treasure.”
The Director of Public Affairs said the objective of the programme was to equip the ladies with the requisite knowledge about the disease and its risk factors and the possible preventive measures to build a community of healthy officers for the nation.
Dr Israel Hagbevor, General Surgery Resident at the Ho Teaching Hospital entreated women to go for regular checkups, saying, regular screening was paramount in detecting cancer early and providing necessary treatment.
He said early detection of breast cancer was crucial in dealing with the disease as there were more options for treatment and better chances for survival when the cancer was detected early.
Dr Hagbevor encouraged women to perform breast self-examination as often as once or twice a month as it played a significant role in the early detection and prevention of breast cancer before it spreads.
He told the Ghana News Agency that breast self-examination helped women become familiar with the normal look and feel of their breasts and could also easily notice any changes that seemed abnormal in the breast.
Some early common signs of breast cancer are a lump in the breast, nipple discharge which sometimes become bloody, skin changes or one breast becoming bigger compared to the other.
The General Surgery Resident said though not all lumps in the breast were cancerous, it was important that women reported any detection of a lump in their breast to health facilities for medical examination.
He advised women to seek medical attention as soon as they detected changes in their breasts and to take good care of their breasts because breast cancer was real.
Dr Hagbevor mentioned prolonged breastfeeding, regular physical exercise, weight control and avoidance of exposure to tobacco smoke, and avoidance of excessive radiation exposure as some breast cancer risk reduction behaviours.
The participants were taken through some risk factors including a positive family history of breast cancer, previous treatment using radiation therapy and early menstruation.
Some participants who spoke to the Ghana News Agency were very happy for being part of the programme and that the knowledge they acquired would go a long way to help them in taking care of their breasts.
They commended POLAS- Volta for organising the programme and hoped that it would be done annually, “for the benefit we get from this programme is enormous.”