Dr. Mrs. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, a leading breast cancer campaigner, has expressed deep worry about continued reliance on herbs for treatment of breast and cervical cancers by many a Ghanaian woman.
This, she said, had not been helpful to the fight at reducing the cancer fatalities in the country.
She indicated that despite the extensive public education campaign, the misconceptions and myths associated with the disease had simply refused to go away.
The result is that infected persons often seek for help at the prayer camps and herbal centres.
They only report to the health facilities, when their condition has worsened and where little or nothing can be done to save them.
Dr. Mrs. Wiafe Addai, who is the President of Breast Care International, (BCI), was speaking at the start of basic oncology training for 120 selected community-based nurses in Kumasi.
It is part of an initiative to aid women, particularly in the rural communities to access oncology services – for early diagnosis of breast and cervical cancers.
The training programme is being undertaken by the BCI in partnership with the Ministries of Health, Local Government and Rural Development, Gender, Children and Social Protection, Ghana Health Service and the National Youth Employment Programme.
The first batch of trainees drawn from Ashanti and the Eastern Regions would be visiting homes to bring health care to the people, examine them for breast and cervical cancers and refer patients to the hospitals.
Dr. Mrs. Wiafe Addai said “we have been fighting these diseases over the years, but it seems we are losing the fight because victims continue to report the disease late to treatment centres”.
She added that the burden of breast and cervical cancers was becoming huge because it was now affecting young women in their productive ages.
She said the community-based nurse oncology training programme was to bring oncology services closer to women, to enable them report any abnormality in their breasts early to the facilities for treatment.
Professor Seth Wiafe of Loma Linda University in California, United States (US), a resource person, said the expectation was that women cancers would be detected and presented early for medical treatment.
He said it was an innovative approach to improve the overall health status of Ghanaian women.