Breast Cancer Situation in Ghana
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the world among women. There are 1.1 million new cases of female breast cancer each year worldwide. Approximately 70% of all cancer deaths will occur in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (source: who.int). Breast cancer remains the most commonly diagnosed cancer in women worldwide.
According to 2020 GLOBOCAN report, Ghana is estimated to record 4,645 (20.4%) new breast cancer cases which is more than double of the estimated 2,062 new cases in 2012, with close to 50% of them dying; the high mortality rate is mainly due to late stage presentation. Most of the women affected with breast cancer are below the age of 50 in Ghana (58.2%) (P & L Hospital).
Myths & Misconceptions
In Ghana, there are a lot of myths and misconceptions about breast cancer which contribute to the late stage presentation. Some of these myths and misconceptions are:
- Breast Cancer is not curable
- Breast Cancer is caused by witchcraft or evil spirits
- Breast Cancer is a Spiritual disease
- Breast Cancer is by fate;
- It results as a curse on a family
- It’s the result of a person’s failure
- That women die from Mastectomy
- Breast Cancer is Stigmatized
- Lack of Awareness
- Inadequate/Bad Treatment
- Lack of counselling
- Lack of Support
Our Steps to Stop Stigma
Key among our greatest weapons in the fight against breast cancer in Ghana are education and awareness creation. Majority of our women do not seek EARLY treatment because of the lack of knowledge, stigma and misinformation about the disease. Even more women seek non-medical treatment options allowing breast cancer to metastasize (spread to other organs) before seeking medical intervention. This means women die needlessly.
We are committed to reaching every woman in Ghana with the message that early detection and prompt action is the best protection, and that education and awareness creation are the most important remedies to the shame that surrounds this highly treatable condition.