Mr Alex Segbefia, Minister of Health on Friday, said apart from the efforts at prevention and control of breast cancer there remains more work to be done on awareness creation, which is still low.
He said this is compounded by the limited human resource and diagnostic capacity to manage breast cancer, which leads to a long waiting time for treatment.
Mr Segbefia was speaking at the launch of the breast care centre of the Volta River Authority (VRA) Hospital in Akosombo in the Eastern Region.
He said breast cancer is among the major female cancers in Ghana, and the second commonest cancer among women in Ghana.
Mr Segbefia said it also forms 15 per cent of all cancers and 40 per cent of female cancers.
He said breast cancer affects Ghanaians from as young as 20 years , even though most of the younger women have sarcomas of the breast, indicating that the disease is generally common as one gets older.
He said majority of breast cancer cases in Ghana are from 40-49 years.
Mr Segbefia noted that breast cancer control involves the range of care, which comprises prevention, screening, diagnosis, treatment and supportive care.
He said it is therefore important to improve access to treatment and care of breast cancer, and live healthy lives as individuals to prevent the development of the disease, as 30 per cent of cancers are potentially preventable through healthy living.
He said breast clinics have been set up at the two major teaching hospitals and few regional hospitals, as well as some quasi government facilities and private facilities to offer breast cancer screening and some form of treatment.
He called on the staff of the VRA hospital and the public to make good use of the facility to help reduce the burden of breast care and cancer in the area.
Dr Charles Arhinful, Team leader of the breast care centre said the facility aims at giving holistic care to patients with breast cancer, because it’s on record that most patients referred to the teaching hospitals refuse to go, making their condition worse.
He said the centre that is in collaboration with MOTEC-LIFE, an international organisation is ready to support the work of the teaching hospitals by getting involved in reconstructive breast surgery aside breast treatment and increase breast cancer awareness.
He said the services being offered would be exactly as that of the teaching hospitals.
Dr Arhinful said annually, Ghana records more than 2000 incidents of breast cancer and out of that about 1000 die.
He said Western Europe records more incidents than Africa, yet Africa records more fatalities because people do not report early due to myths and perceptions about breast cancer and high cost of treatment.
He said there is the need for a one stop centre to treat such patients and pleaded with the Ministry of Health to provide enough facilities with the needed equipment to operate successfully.
Mrs Rebecca Acquaah- Arhin, Managing Director, VRA Health Services said the launch coincides with the breast awareness week and the breast care team has been moved to Accra, Aboazi, and Akosombo to create awareness among communities and religious organisations.
He said the centre would go beyond awareness creation, to effective breast care management as well as reconstructive services.
She advised women to adopt the habit of examining their breast once every month for early detection, saying: ‘If you know how your breast looks like when there is a change you would notice.” GNA