This visit formed part of an outreach exercise to bring the campaign closer to the people who are practically involved in the prevention, treatment and management of the disease while interacting with them to have firsthand understanding and experience with Breast Cancer and the processes which go into cancer care in the country.
It was also in commemoration of activities in October every year, globally dedicated to awareness creation on the prevention, treatment and management of Breast Cancer.
Pledge Pink, led by lead Coordinator, Mrs. Zara Neequaye, expressed her appreciation on behalf of UT Bank and Pledge Pink to the Unit and reiterated its support towards the Oncology Department’s efforts in tirelessly providing diagnostics, treatment and post-cancer care to patients.
Mrs. Neequaye intimated that the visit was a rare privilege to better partner the Cancer Unit in re-strategizing to intensify public education on the prevention, treatment and management of Breast Cancer which has become the leading cause of cancer related deaths among women – five hundred thousand lives globally and one thousand nationally every year.
Welcoming Pledge Pink to the Cancer Unit, the Deputy Head of the Unit, Dr. Verna Vanderpuje bemoaned the spate of late diagnosis which could be attributed to a lack of regular screening, or late reporting of symptoms of the diseases to health facilities.
Touching on challenges in the delivery of quality care to patients, Dr. Vanderpuje cited the negative influence from peers whose negative counsel on victims that a mastectomy is the only option once a diagnosis has been made as a serious barrier to early diagnosis and treatment.
She remarked that most patients who presented with the disease in its latter stages needlessly suffered avoidable agony, at which point it became more of symptom control rather than a complete cure.
Dr. Vanderpuje stressed the importance of adopting preventive measures as opposed to having no choice but to succumb to the debilitating effects of a fully-blown cancer. She revealed that the Oncology Unit grappled with many cases of which 25% – 30% were Breast Cancer cases.
According to Dr. Vanderpuje, available data could only be indicative of a bigger problem which did not rule out the possibility of a high number of unreported cases and assured that survival rates will see a steady rise if patients and the rest of the public are educated better on preventive measures, treatment and management options.
Dr. Edwin Wiredu, Head of the department of Pathology, stressed the need for male partners of affected female patients to extend the needed physical and emotional support to their loved ones to increase their chances of survival and called for a change in mind set towards women with breast cancer.
Globally, the month of October has been dedicated to the creation of awareness about the prevention, treatment and management of Breast Cancer. Breast Cancer remains the commonest cancer among women and the second commonest cancer worldwide. More than 500,000 women worldwide have died from Breast Cancer and its associated mortality figures are still rising sharply.
Both medical practitioners noted that Breast Cancer is not a death sentence and assured that early diagnosis is key to survival.
Pledge Pink urges all women (and men) to undergo regular screening and seek early medical intervention. Breast Cancer is preventable, treatable and manageable; early detection is the key to a positive prognosis and a chance at life.
By Sophia-Marie Honny