Ghana has launched an aggressive research to identify the causes and effective ways to treat the breast cancer disease among women.
Researchers in three leading health facilities, namely, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) and the Peace and Love Hospital (PLH), together with their counterparts from the United States (US) National Cancer Institute, are pioneering the study.
The activity is being carried out in selected districts across the country.
Dubbed “Ghana Breast Health Study (GBHS),” it is the first of its kind in Africa and the goal is to help prevent, detect and treat the devastating cancer disease.
Dr. Baffour Awuah, Medical Director of KATH and Dr Mrs Beatrice Wiafe Addai, Chief Executive Officer of PLH, who are leading the project in the Ashanti Region, made this known at a meeting with the Management and other officials of the Regional Health Directorate in Kumasi, to introduce the project and solicit their support for the successful conduct of the study in the region.
In Ashanti, it is being carried out in the Kumasi Metropolis, Atwima-Kwanwoma, Ejisu-Juaben Municipality, Bosomtwe, Atwima-Nwabiagya and Kwabre East Districts.
Other selected districts include the Accra Metropolis, Ga South, Ashaiman, Adenta, Ledzokuku/Krowor, Ga East, Ga West, Awutu-Senya, Akuapem South Dangbe East and West and Suhum/Kraboa/Coaltar.
The three-year project is a “case-control study,” and targets both women diagnosed with breast cancer, and those who do not have it, but reside in the study areas and aged between 18 and 74 years.
Breast cancer is the leading malignancy in Ghana, and one of the most common causes of hospital admissions among women.
The World Health Organisation (WHO) estimates that 1,000 Ghanaian women died of breast cancer in 2012, and 2,200 new cases recorded in that same year.
Although the disease and its resultant deaths are on the increase, risk factors remained relatively unexplored.
Again, breast cancers are detected at late stages and include forms that are hard to treat.