Why women in Ghana continue to report to hospitals with stage 4 breast cancer

Ghana among other countries continuous to lose women to breast cancer due to low information on breast cancer.

Reports indicate that nearly 70% of women are diagnosed with advanced stages of the disease, leading to increased deaths.

An Oncologist at the Korle-Bu Teaching, Dr. Joel Yarney, has revealed to GhanaWeb that the proportion of women who report with stage 4 cancer in Ghana has not changed in the last 20 years.

Speaking in an interview on a GhanaWeb Special on Breast Cancer Awareness, he indicated that regular screening of the breast can help detect lumps at the early stages.

“Our biggest problem is the late presentation…I can tell you that for over 20 years there has not been any change in the stage at presentation. The proportion of patients coming in with stage 3 and 4 diseases has not changed in the past 20 years,” he said.

Dr. Yarney, therefore, suggested the decentralization of breast care to the district level as that will ensure that every woman in the country is screened.

Women have been advised not to wait until the month of October before getting their breast screened.

“I have nothing against the celebration of Wolrd Cancer Day, it is good but I would prefer that we approached it in a more systematic fashion, in other words, it will be entrenched in our health care system so that you couldn’t have to wait for one year before you hear a message on breast cancer,” Dr. Yarney advised.

He added that for fear of losing the breast, some women turn to depend on herbal medicines, with others ending up at prayer camps for healing.

“Unfortunately, people go to prayer camps and by the time they come to us (hospital), it is too advanced. I have nothing against praying but come to the hospital and continue praying,” said Dr. Yarney in an interview with GhanaWeb.

An Oncology Nurse Specialist at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, Naomi Oyoe Ohene Oti, also advised women to adopt the habit of self-breast exams which is best done from the 3rd to 5th day after menstruation.


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