Health News Wed, 19 Mar 2003

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84,000 Women Screened for Breast Cancer

DR. NTIAMOAH-MENSAH, of the Christian Professional Fellowship, a group of Christian professionals who have taken it upon themselves to provide medical services to Ghanaians, has disclosed that breast cancer is killing a lot of women in the country.

According to him, within a period of two and a half years, his outfit has screened over 84,000 women in the country who have been infected by the disease.

Dr. Ntiamoah said this when he addressed participants at a breast cancer awareness programme which was held at the Victory Bible Church International, Tema last weekend.

Dubbed "The Breast, a Life sustaining organ," the programme was organised by the Abibiman Foundation and the Tema branch of the women's fellowship of the Victory Bible Church International to educate the Christian women on how to protect themselves from getting the deadly disease.

He noted that most Ghanaian women either have no idea at all, or very little idea of the devastating effect of the killer disease which, according to him has infected between 10-20 per cent of women in the country.

Even though the cause of breast cancer has not yet been proven, it is estimated that too much of eating is one of the major factors that contribute to the contamination of the disease, he said.

He therefore called on Ghanaians, both men and women, to be wary of their eating habits, which he noted could bring many other diseases including death. "If you eat too much, you are digging your own grave."

He revealed that most men in Ghana who carry big pot-bellies around to show their class in society must watch out for their health, adding some of the fat in the body must be burnt away.

Dr. Ntiamoah hinted that research has shown that girls who begin menstruation early, what he termed "early menace" and women who attain late menopause are likely to get breast cancer.

He further stated that women whose close relations, say mum or auntie has had breast cancer before, should also watch out as they are likely to be infected.

He however explained that such women must consult their doctors as soon as they detect that they belong to the group of women mentioned above.

The gynaecologist pointed out that a lump in the breast does not mean one has breast cancer, but it should be a warning sign for a woman to visit her doctor.

The change in the size of a woman's breast (whether it increases or decreases), a pain in the breast or itching around the breast must also be taken seriously.

Dr. Ntiamoah continued that a change in the colour of the breast, the nipple pushing in (nipple retraction), the nipple discharging milk without breast feeding a baby or discharging blood are all signs which must caution women to visit their doctors.

He called on women to be able to examine their breasts, at least, once a month.

The president of the Women's Fellowship of VBC International, Tema, Mrs. Ellen Adjei Danso, on her part, said since women have still not received the needed protection, their reproductive rights are still being abused from their "infancy into adulthood and even unto death."

She called on women to make breast-feeding of their children paramount on their agenda, adding "we've learnt that breast-feeding prevents breast cancer."

Earlier, the women had embarked on a float through the principal streets of Tema, carrying placards with such inscriptions as "I am a woman, I need my breast," "Breast Cancer can kill, kill it now," "Hey Mum!, I need more breast milk," "Generations depend on your breast," "Daddy, leave the breast for me," "It could be you, support breast cancer campaign," among other inscriptions.

Source: Chronicle

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