A Consultant Gynecologist has called on the Government to provide screening services in all health facilities across the country to ensure women had easy access to test and vaccinate for cervical cancer.
Dr Nii Oku Aryee said making screening accessible at all levels was the surest way to closing the care gap for the deadly disease, which was killing many innocent women in Ghana.
Speaking on panel discussion as part of activities to mark this year’s World Cancer Day in Kumasi, Dr Aryee said government should consider rolling cervical cancer treatment onto the National Health Insurance Scheme.
“Every girl, after nine years, should be screened, tested, and vaccinated to close the gap near zero, cancer of the cervix is treatable, the earlier we act as a country, the better it will be for everyone,” he stated.
The programme was organised by the Breast Care International (BCI), on the theme; “Close the Care Gap.”
Dr Aryee, also the Medical Superintendent of the Mamponteng Government Hospital, said Ghana records about 3,000 cases of cervical cancer every year, and half of the affected women lost their lives to the disease.
Most of the cancer diseases were found in middle and low income countries, which made the situation dire.
He indicated that men had a huge role to play in cervical cancer control since majority of the cancers were associated with the human papillomavirus (hpv), which women acquired through sexual intercourse with men.
“In closing the cancer gap, especially cervical cancer, we need to test more women for hpv, screen and vaccinate,” he said. Dr Samuel Amanamah, Urologist, touching on prostate cancers, said it was one of the cancers claiming the lives of Ghanaian men.
He said the risk factors of a special race (black African man), age and diet contributed to most men having the disease.
He charged men, aged 40 and above, to prioritise the consumption of more fruits and vegetables, which were major fighting agents for prostate cancers, saying healthy diets played key roles in prostate cancer alleviation.
Dr Mrs Beatrice Wiafe Addai, the Founder, BCI, noted that cancers required the attention and commitment of all pursuant to closing the care gap.
She stressed the need for the government to increase taxes on all tobacco, sugar-sweetened beverages, alcohol and fast foods in Ghana as they were high risk factors as far as cancers were concerned, hence they must be regulated to
discourage their consumption. Research conducted in the United States of America and the United Kingdom showed that when taxes on those commodities were increased, many people who consumed the products stopped using them.
Dr. Wiafe Addai cited for instance that although tobacco was not advertised in Ghana, a lot of people consumed it, which accounted for most of the lung, breast, cervical and throat cancers in the country.
The use of shisha, another tobacco product, was not being regulated, she said.
“We cannot sit and fold our hands and watch the youth consuming these products in large quantities.”
“The Government should be bold enough to increase taxes on them to deter people from buying and using them.”
Dr Wiafe Addai said cancers still existed and everyone must wake up to the call in fighting the disease.
The World Cancer Day is celebrated on the 4th of February every year to create awareness on the need to initiate action against the corrosive spread and prevent deaths.