The 14th International Conference on Cancer Nursing held in Toronto was co-hosted by CANO (Canadian Association of Nurses in Oncology) and ISNCC (International Society of Nurses in Cancer Care) between September 27th to October 01,2006. In an attempt to building on the strengths of this worldwide organization, hundreds of nurses were invited from far and wide to attend the conference. Among them, Mary Ayapong, Comfort Amoako and Beatrice Antwi came all the way from Ghana to participate in it.
The threesome, all nurses from the Okomfo Anokye hospital in Kumasi, had applied for sponsorship and thus were awarded scholarships to come to Canada to learn about the new research in Cancer Care to be able to put it in practice while in Ghana. Speaking to The Global Mirror, the three nurses expressed their heartfelt satisfaction for CANO's initiatives to curtail cancer related deaths the world over. But more importantly, they were much concerned about the lack of knowledge in relation to cancer related deaths in the underdeveloped countries. They thus made it clear that through the foregoing research by CANO and ISNCC, many lives have been saved.
Comfort, Mary and Beatrice confirmed that they did learn a lot at the conference and that they are willing to impart their knowledge to others to be able to help save more lives now than ever before. To achieve this aim, they need more volunteers to join hands with them, especially in the rural areas of Ghana where transportation poses half the problem of mortality rates.
The three nurses made it very clear to esquire William Boateng, Editor in chief and Publisher of The Global Mirror, also former true owner of the Ghanaian Mirror (which has been stolen by a con man in Toronto) that Breast screening is very effective and saves more than 1,000 lives every year, They therefore want Paa Willie to pass it on to Ghanaians in Toronto and also those in other parts of the Western World to encourage their relatives back home to engage vigorously in breast cancer screaning programs.
According to the nurses, many of those who die of breast cancer wait too long or fail to have their breasts screaned at the early stages. Most of them wait till the disease reaches stage four whereby very little could be done to save their lives.
“Palliative care, also called comfort care, is primarily directed at providing relief to a terminally-ill person through symptom management and pain management,” the nurses said. The goal here according to Comfort is not to cure, but to provide comfort and maintain the highest possible quality of life for as long as life remains to the patients. “Well-rounded palliative care programs also address mental health and spiritual needs.' Mary added. Beatrice Antwi, obviously the youngest among the three also maintained that, “The focus here is not on death, but on compassionate specialized care for the living.” Further description of the disease requires palliative care that might be delivered in hospice and home care settings or in hospitals as done at St. Michael's Hospital in Toronto. Because medical needs vary depending on the disease that is leading toward death, specialized palliative care programs exist for common conditions such as cancer and AIDS, and that Specialized care giving is also needed if organic changes in the brain leading to coma or dementia, becomes at stake, they explained.
To this end, the Global Mirror is appealing to all Ghanaians in the Diaspora, but not only in Toronto to organize fundraising events to raise more money with the bid to curtailing the high mortality rate of breast ccancer in Ghana in like manner as it is done in the Western world.
In conclusion, the three nurses said they continue to encourage Ghanaian women to participate in the NHS Breast Screening Programmes to save lives but not to wait till the end is at hand before they run for the cure. All Ghanaians are therefore advised to pass on these information to their relatives back home.
Courtesy, The Global Mirror, Toronto, Canada.