The Meena Breast Cancer Foundation (MBCF) has urged government to consider building specialised cancer hospitals and abolish costs of treatment to help with the alarming fatalities associated with breast cancer in Ghana.
The appeal is in response to recent breast cancer fatalities recorded in the country, and the 2020 GLOBOCAN reports that Ghana is expected to record 4,645 (20.4%) new breast cancer cases, more than twice the projected 2,062 new cases in 2012, with more than half of them dying.
While the majority of breast cancer patients in Ghana (58.2%) are under the age of 50, the high death rate is associated with late stage presentation, which health experts attributed to myths and misconceptions.
“The establishment of a specialised breast cancer hospital will assist in the fight against the canker, which is the leading killer of women,” Alhaji Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, MBCF Executive Director said.
Speaking to the Ghana News Agency in an interview, Alhaji Ibrahim said despite breast cancer treatment being subsidised under the National Health Insurance Scheme, a lot of patients were unable to pay for treatment.
“These poor patients would rather sit home and lose their lives because they cannot pay for the treatment. But the specialised hospitals would provide patients with easy access to treatment and proper care, as well as research into the condition to develop new ways of treatment.”
Alhaji Ibrahim, whose wife died of breast cancer in Turkey earlier this year, founded the Foundation to raise awareness about devastating effects of breast cancer, and offer financial assistance to patients to undergo treatment.
“Our vision is to stem breast cancer related deaths through our aggressive campaigns in schools, institutions and communities across Ghana,” he said.
He also noted that some patients who were fortunate enough to get support from charitable organisations and individuals, had their lives spared.
He cited the financial support and timely intervention he had offered to some women with the disease who needed chemotherapy, observing that, many dye quietly due to their inability to pay for treatment.
“This is why it is urgent to completely scrap every form of bill that will hinder breast cancer patients from accessing treatment,” he said.
“With the establishment of the hospital, I am certain that the mortality rate associated with the disease will be reduced drastically.”
Health experts say breast cancer is the most common cancer worldwide and the leading cause of cancer mortality among Ghanaian women.
“Let us act now to save our women. Breast cancer fight should be daily, not yearly, Alhaji Ibrahim.”
Meanwhile, the MBCF has developed a strategy to tackle breast cancer throughout the year, rather than just during one season of the year.
The programme targets schools, religious institutions, and other organisations to educate and screen students and staff. Since its inception, MBCF has visited Potsin Ahmadiyya Senior High School, Kasoa Ahmadiyya Muslim Women Association, and Accra Girls Senior High School in the Central Region.