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"New breast cancer cases recorded in Ghana double from 2k to 4k in 2 years" – Breast Cancer Society

New cases of breast cancer have doubled from 2,000 as of 2022 to 4,000 on a yearly basis since last year across the country.

Unfortunately, over 20 percent of the patients are less than 40 years old, thus raising concerns on the need to move beyond awareness creation as a country.

The peak age group for breast cancer is 40. However, the number of younger individuals getting diagnosed with the disease in the last 2 years and at advance stages is said to be alarming with death toll in the last two years also increasing from 500 to more than one thousand.

Gifty Oppoy is barely 30 years old but was diagnosed with breast cancer two years ago. Unfortunately, it was over a year after her diagnoses before she sought the needed medical attention.

As difficult as she puts it, many families including hers will first resort to superstition during initial stages which has led her to a very difficult state currently. Her left breast has been removed and the right breast has also developed a cancerous lump.

‘‘When I first discovered the lump, it was not cancerous but because I was relying on family. Then later I discovered it has developed into cancer. My family did not want me to go to the hospital. They knew the breast will be removed. … so I run away from home to seek help.”

She has had four cycles of her chemo sessions out of the 6 she requires, and it hasn’t been an easy journey for her and her family is yet to come to terms with her ordeal.

“It’s really difficult and some family members have refused to talk to me since I did the surgery. Your hair going comes with fatigue and tiredness. My friends …..they still took me to a pastor for prayers…………people around me believe in me and expect me to fight so that alone is enough encouragement for me to keep fighting,” she said.

Gifty is just one of the many young ladies out there who are battling breast cancer and lack family support systems to pull through.

Georgina is also in her thirties and a breast cancer survivor. She would have lost her life to the cancer due to misdiagnoses by medical practitioners.

“It took me 3months with numerous recommendations before I was finally diagnosed. I had to seek for the 4th opinion after all the doctors kept dismissing me that it wasn’t breast cancer. But infection and they were giving me antibiotics. But I am the type of person who has already suffered doctors’ negligence before, so I didn’t take it for granted. please if u can, seek a 2nd opinion,” she explained.

Her family support has kept her strong throughout the journey. And she has been living her normal life since.

She said “my husband was not concerned about me losing my breast neither did my pastor ask me to pray only. My mum wishes her breast could be exchanged with mine, so family support is very important”.

A General Surgeon at the Breast Cancer Unit of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Dr. Josphine Nsarful tells us the breast clinic at the Hospital records over 20 new cases every week.

She said "Last year we had a patient who was 18yrs old. Indeed, we are seeing too many of the advance cases. Risk factors often include eating fatty foods and no exercise. Most at times too, they come to the hospital and after diagnosis, they go to the unorthodox methods and return with the case worsened.”

She believes systems need to be strengthened while training of specialist needs to be beefed up to broaden geographical coverage and awareness creation of the disease should not be limited to the urban centres.

Another issue of concern she raised was the lack of adequate number of mammogram diagnostic machines across the country to serve the people.

Credit: 3news



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