By Kofi Ampeah-Woode, Michel Camp
The One Battalion of Infantry (1Bn), Michel Camp, Tema, have held a three-tier program of educating, breast screening and breast imaging, in observation of International Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
The program, which was held at the Junior Officers’ Mess of the Camp, on Saturday, 24th October, 2020, had an appreciable number of women and men attending to receive education on the disease, targeting the women within the barracks and their immediate neighbours, generally.
Speaking to the press before the program, the Station Medical Officer (SMO) of the One Medical Reception Station (1MRS) – Flight Lieutenant (Flt Lt) Peter Venkungmen Andanye, said that the program was the Battalion’s contribution to the international awareness month.
The SMO said the Battalion started Breast Cancer Awareness observation last year, and comparing the numbers to this year, there has been enough awareness to the extent that there is an increase in persons attending medical care for screening at the care center, on their own for examination.
Flt Lt Andanye took time to teach the basics about Breast Cancer, what the situation is like around the world and in Ghana, how everyone could help themselves, before attending the hospital, after which there were physical breast examinations, and then, imaging (mammogram or ultrasound scan) for those who needed that service.
The SMO informed that per the national statistics, from 2012, Breast Cancer is one of the commonest cancers, and the second leading cause of cancer deaths, coming after Cervical Cancer, whiles the global picture has over three million women battling the ailment, with less than one percent occurring in men also.
Every year, two thousand new cases of Breast Cancer are recorded, with victims aged between forty and forty-nine, and more than a thousand deaths per year, relating to Breast Cancer, occurring in Ghana, hence the need to heed the call for the awareness creation.
Dr Andanye also indicated that, usually for the African woman, exposing themselves in such a way before another person is quite difficult, but maintaining high levels of professionalism and confidentiality at all times by the medical experts, keeps assuring patients from their fears.
At the lecture captioned “What you should know about Breast Cancer”, Flt Lt Andanye revealed these, among others;
WHAT CAN INCREASE YOUR RISKS – 1) Having a close family member increases risks, 2) Woman not having children, 3) a person not breastfeeding, 4) Prolonged exposure to female hormones, 5) Unhealthy lifestyles such as uncleanness, 6) Lack of exercise, 7) Excessive alcohol intake and 8) obesity.
WHAT SHOULD PROMPT ONE TO GO FOR CHECKS – 1) When one notices a lump in the breast, 2) Change in breast size to heavy, besides menstrual period, 3) Changes in the colour and texture of skin of the breast, 4) Changes in the nipple, 5) Nipple discharge (clear or coloured liquid) when not breastfeeding, 6) Nipple retraction , 7) Sore, 8) Rash on breast, and 8) Lump or swelling in the armpit.
IS BREAST CANCER CURABLE – 1) If found early enough, it is curable, 2) Chances of cure reduces when the cancer grows and spreads, 3) Early detection would stop it from spreading, 4) Combination of treatments are essential, 5) There are four (4) stages of development in Breast Cancer, at stages One and Two, one has a 100% chance of survival and cure but at stage 3 and beyond, survival chances are low.
PREVENTION – 1) Observe healthy lifestyle, 2) Avoid risk factors, 3) Observe 3 stages of screening of Self-screening, Clinical screening by experts and Imaging (like ultrasound and mammogram), 4) Is there a part of the breast that is warm, 5) Are there itches on the breast, 6) Is there change in size, 7) Is there a Dimple on the breast, 9) Does the nipple discharge, 10) Is there Pain in the breast and 11) Is the skin texture of the breast changed?
WHAT TO DO – 1) Learn to examine your breast with your spouse, 2) Breastfed children grow better, 3) Ladies after age fifteen should examine breast monthly, five to seven days after menses, 4) Women in menopause period could choose any day, 5) Clinical breast examination should be personally observed, once every year and 6) Women 40 years and above, should go for mammogram every year.
MYTHS – 1) that Breast Cancer is contagious, 2) that Mammogram causes Breast Cancer, 3) that Microwaves cause Breast Cancer, 4) that Coffee consumption is a cause, 5) that Witchcraftcy is a cause, 6) that Breast Cancer symptoms are always painful initially, 7) that when operated upon, one would die, 8) that Cutting-off the breast would cause death, 9) that Chemotherapy and Radiography poisons the body.
MISCELLANEOUS – 1) Breast Cancer Reconstructive surgery for cut breast is available for victims, 2) giving birth reduces one’s risk of Breast Cancer, 3) Statistically, ailment occurs in Twenty-year-olds, though not common in children, 4) Most lumps are not cancerous, although ailment comes along with a hardened lump, 5) Visit the hospital, Talk to the doctor and Comply with given instructions.