Ghana: Over 2,000 women died from breast cancer in 2020

Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai says the deaths were partly caused by a halt in medical services for some patients during the lockdown

The former chair of the Ghana Cancer Board, Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has revealed that over 2,000 women died from breast cancer in 2020.

Speaking to Asaase News, Dr Wiafe Addai said the deaths were caused partly by a halt in medical services for some patients during the lockdown.

“According to Globocan (New Global Cancer Data 2020), if in 2019 in Ghana, for example, we lost about 1,800 women to breast cancer, in 2020 we lost 2,000 and over. So the number of people dying from breast cancer has increased,” she said.

She explained that the impact of COVID-19, particularly during the lockdown, affected most medical treatment for cancer patients.

Dr Beatrice Addai, a breast cancer expert
Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai

“There was a lot of disruption in treatment. All surgeries were suspended. So people with breast cancer at the early stage who needed a lumpectomy or breast conserving surgery, could not have their surgeries,” Dr Addai said.

According to statistics from the new global cancer data, female breast cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed form of cancer, surpassing cancer of the lungs, in particular with the high prevalence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).

Lung cancer remains the leading cause of death by cancer, not only in many LMICs but also in higher-income regions such as North America, Europe and Australia.

Creating awareness

Dr Addai, who doubles as a breast surgeon, urged the government to do more to support treatment.

“In Ghana, we don’t have any support system when it comes to breast cancer.

“The government can partner civil society organisations working to create awareness …

“The Ghana Health Service can also retrain some of their nurses in the CHPS compound to also embark on the awareness creation exercise,” she said.

Karen Dodoo-Antwi

Asaase Radio 99.5 – tune in or log on to broadcasts online
Follow us on Twitter: @asaaseradio995

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