Research on breast cancer launched

A novel research to help identify the causes of breast cancer among women in the country has been launched.

The programme, labelled the Ghana Breast Health Study, is being undertaken by a team of local and foreign medical researchers from the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital ( KBTH), the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH), Peace and Love Hospitals (PLHs), undoubtedly the three leading hospitals handling majority of breast cancer cases in the country, and the National Cancer Institute (NCI) based in the USA.

Simply known as a case-control study, the research is aimed at establishing the best way of preventing, detecting and treating breast diseases in the country.

The programme, which started with a year’s pilot period in February, last year, is scheduled to continue for two more years, focusing on women with suspected or diagnosed breast cancer cases  and those who do not have the disease.

The selected study areas include Accra, Tema,  Adentan, Ga East, Ga West, Weija, Ashaiman, Ledzokuku/Krowor, Dangme East and Dangme West, all in the Greater Accra Region.

The rest are Kumasi, Bosomtwe, Kwabre, Ejisu-Juaben, Atwima-Kwanwoma and Atwima-Nwabiagya in the Ashanti Region; Awutu-Senya in the Central Region and Suhum/Kraboa-Coaltar and Akuapem South in the Eastern Region.

Commenting on the programme, Dr (Mrs) Beatrice Wiafe Addai, the Chief Executive Officer of PLHs and key member of the research team identified breast cancer as a leading malignancy in Ghana and one of the most common causes of hospital admissions among women.

The World Health Organisation, she said, put new breast cancer cases in Ghana in 2012 at over 2,200 and deaths from the disease at over 1,000.

Dr Wiafe Addai noted that although diagnosed breast cancers and deaths from the disease were on the rise in the country, the risk factors remained relatively unexplored, saying that what was more worrying was that breast cancers were often detected at late stages when they were difficult to treat.

“Breast cancer is a growing concern for Ghana but through the Ghana Breast Health Study, we hope to find the underlying causes of the disease and clues as to how we can prevent and treat it among Ghanaian women,” she stated.

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