Dr Joyce Wilson, a Breast Cancer survivor says early detection is key to surviving breast cancer disease and makes a significant difference to the outcome.
She said self-breast examination did not cost money and was effective and could be done anywhere, explaining that “I stand her today as a breast cancer survivor and it came out from a self-breast examination.”
Dr Wilson stated this when she participated in the Meena Breast Cancer Awareness Project in Accra and said picking up breast cancer was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but “if you continue looking, long enough you will find it.”
She said early detection included self-breast examination, clinical breast examinations and mammograms as needed and when breast cancer was detected early and in its localized stage, the five-year survival rate was 99 per cent.
She said breast cancer did not have many visible symptoms, so it was important to catch some of the early symptoms by being proactive about their breast health.
Symptoms to look out for include any changes in the breast, size and nipple inversion, rash, and redness, dimpling of the skin, a lump, a nipple discharge.
Dr Wilson said there was the need to fight breast cancer myths like men do not get breast cancer and mammograms were dangerous.
She said the Project was to honour the late Mrs Amina Oppong-Kwarteng, the wife of Mr Ibrahim Oppong Kwarteng, the Executive Director of Crime Check Foundation, who fought breast cancer.
“We may all know people who have passed away from breast cancer, but we also know people who have survived,” she stated.
Dr Wilson said through the project, they want to spread the news, knowledge, the skill, and awareness of self-breast examination to many more women to do self-breast examination and once a year in October, get a clinical breast examination or a mammogram if needed.
She said in the WHO calendar, October was the Breast Cancer awareness month but for Meena Breast Cancer Awareness Project, it was a day of the week, every day of the month and every day of the year.
She explained that by creating awareness, they expect to get more women to do a self-breast examination monthly and regularly, if they find a lump, act, go beyond their shock and see a doctor quickly.