GIMPA Organizes Breast and Liver Cancer Awareness Week

By Joyce Boahemaa Fosu
The Institute embarked on a weeklong breast and liver cancer awareness programme dubbed: ‘CANcer CAN’T but We CAN.’
The main aim of the programme was to sensitize people to the risk factors of cancer, the importance of early screening and diagnosis, as well as the treatment options available to those affected.
In view of that, a symposium was organized at the Greenhill campus as part of activities marking the week.
The Medical Officer in charge of the GIMPA Clinic, Dr. Daniel Adumuah Nortey, in his address indicated that the increasing prevalence rate of the two forms of cancer was frightening and there was the need for some form of sensitization to mitigate it.
He indicated that the prevalence rate in Ghana was about 15.4% in women, adding that it developed earlier in black people and is aggressive.
It was, however, refreshing to hear Dr. Nortey assure participants that breast cancer is a curable disease ONLY when detected early, and emphasized the need for early screening and diagnosis.
“Breast cancer is not a death sentence, it is a potentially curable cancer when detected early. Early diagnosis is good for beating cancer but late diagnosis makes it almost impossible,’’ he added.
He mentioned some of the risk factors like tobacco smoking, excessive alcohol, obesity, not breastfeeding, not having children at all, or having them late.
Speaking on the same topic, Dr. Kwabena Okoh, a Surgical Specialist at the Achimota hospital said all cancers are abnormal uncontrollable continuous replication of cells which eventually lead to the formation of a tumor.
He said it was the commonest cancer among women and the second cause of death in women.
“Quite often it affects women but men can be affected too. Women actually carry 99% of breast cancer,” he noted.
A Hepatobiliary Surgeon at the Korle-bu Teaching hospital, Dr. Asare Offei, took participants through liver cancer.
He said it was the number one cancer in the world which affects both male and female. Unfortunately, not much sensitization is done on it as compared to breast cancer, although it is also equally deadly.
“According to Globacon, Report 2018, liver cancer is the third most common cancer accounting for 2753 new cases yearly.
Dr. Offei said the risk factors are hepatitis B and C, cirrhosis of the liver, alcohol, fatty liver, and obesity.
The treatment options, he said, were surgery and chemotherapy among others.
Ms. Stephanie Benson, a popular Ghanaian musician, who is also a breast cancer survivor, shared her story on how she battled cancer and gave many tips on how to enjoy your life as a breast cancer survivor.
The other activities held as part of the awareness week were breast examination exercise, free breast ultrasound, hepatitis B screening, and vaccination.
The programme was the second in the series organized annually.