The Radiological and Medical Sciences Research Institute (RAMSRI), in partnership with the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission (GAEC) Hospital and other partners, is scheduled to organise a breast cancer awareness campaign throughout the month of October.
Apart from the awareness creation of the devastating effects of the disease on individuals, families and nations, the campaign seeks to inspire hope in those affected by cancer through early detection, education, and support services.
There would also be a free breast cancer screening under the auspices of the GAEC @ 60 Anniversary celebration, supported by the GAEC Hospital, University of Ghana Medical Centre, Legon and the International Maritime Hospital at Tema.
At the media launch of the campaign on the theme: “Healthy Breasts for Healthy Life,” Prof. Dickson Adomako, the Deputy Director-General of the Ghana Atomic Energy Commission, said breast cancer was the most dominant of this disease, making up to 12 per cent of all cancers globally.
He said women were the most diagnosed, citing the risk factors of developing breast cancer as age, gender, family history, genetics, obesity and excessive alcohol intake, among others.
He said early detection through education, awareness creation and effective screening was key to saving lives.
Prof. Adomako gave a brief background of GAEC’s role as Ghana’s statutory body mandated to carry out research into the peaceful application of nuclear science and technology and its development.
He said the Commission engaged in research, education, commercialisation of its research among others, through its six Institutes including RAMSRI and the Graduate School of Nuclear and Allied Sciences.
He acknowledged RAMSRI and its partners including the GAEC Hospital and GAEC Ladies Association for spearheading this important activity of Breast Cancer Awareness, which was key in the Commission’s 60 Anniversary programme.
Prof. Francis Hasford, the Director of RAMSRI, said being the leading cancer research Institute under GAEC, his outfit had been leading in the crusade against breast cancer prevention over the past three years through the annual campaigns, supported by the GAEC Hospital, and hoped to expand the outreach to other areas of the country.
He said the reason for the campaign was to announce dreadfulness of breast cancer as a killer, saying society never appreciated the call for early diagnoses unless one encountered a patient affected by the disease.
He said available statistics showed a global record of 2.3 million breast cancer cases annually, which was projected to double by 2035, and in Ghana the disease accounted for 4,500 cases a year, with 50 per cent of the diagnosed cases resulting in death.
“Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in Ghana only after liver cancer,” but there was a 90 per cent chance of successful treatment when detected early, he said.
Dr Hasford outlined the plan activities for the campaign month as community and media engagement, article publications, awareness walk and free breast cancer screening for workers of corporate institutions including the National Petroleum Authority, Graphic Communications Group, G4 Security (G4S), Ghana Free Zones Authority and the Ga East Municipal Assembly starting from October 02, 2023.
Other target groups for education and free screening were the Kwabenya Senior High School, and the Kwabenya, Dome and Taifa markets respectively, all in the Ga East district.
He explained that the 15 Kilometre health awareness walk through the principal streets of Dome-Kwabenya-Haatso was slated for October 13 , starting from the GAEC hospital at Atomic.
“We will walk through the Kwabenya and Dome markets, linking to the Christian Village, Westlands, Haatso and back to the GAEC Hospital amidst brass band music and sharing of educative information including flyers,”
Prof. Hasford explained that the Breast Cancer Awareness Month had always been a crucial opportunity to unite communities, honour survivors, remember lost loved ones, and empower individuals to take charge of their breast health.
He said GAEC was deeply committed to making a difference in the lives of women and those affected by breast cancer and called for public support of the efforts to make a meaningful impact through the campaign.