Breast Care International (BCI) and Peace and Love Hospitals celebrated this year’s World Cancer Day on February 2, 2014 at the Faith Assemblies of God Church, Tafo, Kumasi.
The celebration of the World Cancer Day at the Faith Assemblies of God Church was marked with breast care education and clinical breast examination. This program precedes the globally recognized World Cancer Day which falls on February 4, 2014.
The day presented an opportunity to unify the country’s resolve with its international partners such as the UICC to debunk the myths through greater awareness and education.
Cancer is a leading cause of death worldwide and accounts for 7.6 million deaths – out of them 4 million premature cancer deaths i.e., between age 30 to 69 – (around 13% of all deaths) in 2008. The main types of cancer are lung (1.37 million), stomach (0.736 mil), liver (0.695 mil), colorectal (0.608 mil), breast (0.458 mil), and cervical cancer (0.275 mil).
Deaths from cancer worldwide are projected to continue rising, with an estimated 13.1 million deaths in 2030. This occurrence of 1.5 million pre-mature cancer deaths could be prevented per year if targets set to reduce NCDs are met by 2025.
World Cancer Day is a chance to raise our collective voices in the name of improving general knowledge around cancer and dismissing misconceptions about the disease. In 2008, WHO launched its Non-communicable Diseases Action Plan which includes cancer-specific interventions. WHO has been constantly working in the field of awareness about cancer by celebrating themes every year:
• 2012 theme was ‘Together it is possible’ to encourage the general public, government and organizations to be a part of the event and also spread and share the message.
• 2013 theme was “Cancer – Did you know?” focusing on the World Cancer Declaration: Dispel damaging myths and misconceptions about cancer.
• 2014 theme is “Debunk the myths.”
The 2014 World Cancer Day focuses on target 5 of the World Cancer Declaration; Reduce stigma and dispel myths about cancer.
Myths surrounding cancer in the developed countries of the world center on phrases such as, “we don’t need to talk about cancer”, cancer…. there are no signs or symptoms”, “there is nothing I can do about cancer, and I don’t have the right to cancer care”.
In Ghana and several developing countries however, myths about cancer are as a result of socio-cultural beliefs that associate cancers such as breast cancer with supernatural beliefs such as curses and therefore the disease requires spiritual treatment.
The myths and misconceptions associated with breast cancer have accounted for the late presentation to hospitals for proper diagnosis and treatment.
Breast Care International (BCI) and Peace and Love Hospitals have implemented several measures to address the significant challenge posed by myths to the treatment of breast cancer.
In her speech, Dr. (Mrs.) Beatrice Wiafe Addai who is the president of BCI and C.E.O of Peace and Love Hospitals educated the women about Breast Cancer, the causes and the effects on the socio-economic growth of a nation.
She then advised women to be more health conscious and perform their own breast self examination every month. She emphasized the need for women to report any abnormality to the hospital since the earlier Breast Cancer is detected; the better it is for a cure.
Participants were also given lectures on Prostate Cancer and the need for men to get tested and treated if proved positive for the Prostate Cancer.
The Head Pastor, Rev. Dr. Dapaah who received the BCI team, advised the congregation to take note of the directives given by the health professionals. He also praised BCI and Peace and Love Hospital for instituting grassroots education and breast screenings to create and sustain awareness about breast cancer in rural communities and cities, whiles promoting early detection for prompt treatment.
The lecture and education segment was promptly followed by clinical breast examination.