THERE WERE several scenes of drama in Parliament yesterday following Members' decision to actively get involved in the national fight against breast cancer, a disease which claims hundreds of lives annually.
The Member of Parliament (MP) for Atwima-Mponua, Isaac Kwame Asiamah, suggested that the best way for early detection of the disease was for men to consciously fondle the breasts of their partners. That, according to him, was the “best scientifically proven method” to address the situation.
“We don't have to only enjoy and play with our wives' breasts but also have to make sure that we detect early cancer.”
When challenged immediately by the MP for Asante-Akyem South, Gifty Ohene-Konadu, to disclose the source of his “scientific” information, Asiamah claimed Microsoft Encarta 2007, a computer programme, was his reference point.
For his part, the MP for Jomoro, Lee Ocran, said breasts were very important as they played several roles, “especially the hard ones. They are not organs for only babies; they serve all generations.”
The MP for Oforikrom, Ms. Elizabeth Agyeman, said breasts, by nature, were hidden and since men did so many things with breasts, they should be able to detect signs of cancer as soon as they started.
It was at that juncture that the MP for Abokobi-Madina, Amadu Sorogho, wanted to know from Ms. Agyeman some of the things men did with breasts.
The Second Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Malik Alhassan Yakubu, who presided, ruled him out of order. But for the timely intervention of the Speaker, most MPs were eager to contribute to the subject.
Earlier in day, the MP for Ho East, Juliana Azumah-Mensah, had raised some concerns on breast cancer on the floor of Parliament when she presented a statement on the disease and its effects on the nation.
She announced that the women's caucus would today organise a breast cancer screening and seminar to highlight the menace which had not received the necessary attention it deserved.
The screening, which is on the theme: “Be Breast Cancer Aware and Not Breast Cancer Scared,” would be done by two doctors, Julia Derban of Trust Hospital and Verna Vanderpuye-Anaglate of Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital.
Mrs. Azumah-Mensah said though both men and women could get the disease, the latter were susceptible to it since they “have more breast cells than men do and because their cells are constantly exposed to the growth-promoting effects of female hormones; breast cancer is much more common in women.”
In the light of that, the Ho East MP called on her women colleagues to visit health institutions for frequent check-ups leading to early detection and treatment.
“It is a well known fact that a lot of women are out there with different sizes of lumps in their breasts and probably with cancers at various stages but have refused or are afraid to come forward for screening.
“This fear is due to the fact that women are aesthetically attached to their breasts and fear its removal, should it be diagnosed as cancerous and warrants a removal.”
She was of the view that given the enormity of the problem, government, non-governmental organizations, educational institutions, development partners and the media were to collaborate to champion the crusade.
“Indeed, men whose wives may be affected should also join the crusade against the disease and encourage their wives, daughters and nieces to do Breast Self Examination and seek early help.”
She said the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi alone recorded a total of 462 cases of different types of cancers, out of which 102 were diagnosed as breast cancer, last year.
Available statistics indicate that more than 400 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed at the Breast Clinic of the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital every year.
According to medical doctors, 10 or more out of every 100 women screened, have the disease.
By Sylvanus Nana Kumi