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15.07.2003 Regional News

Ho teachers attend seminar on breast cancer

By GNA
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Ho, July 15, GNA - Mr Frank Ghartey, a Pathologist, on Monday appealed to women to resist rating the aesthetic value of their breast above their physical well being when there is the need to remove suspected cancerous lumps from their breast.

He told more than 500 female teachers from the Ho District at a Breast Cancer Awareness Seminar that often women derided advice based on clinical investigations only to be brought to hospital when there was little one could do to save them from dying from the cancer. Mr Ghartey, who works for MAMOCARE, a Breast Cancer Awareness and Screening Organisation, said surprisingly women, who refused to get rid of lumps from their breasts cut across social boundaries. "I have seen bankers, teachers, hairdressers and other categories shun expert advice," he said.

Mr Ghartey said a lump could be so tiny to make one complacent but "by the time it grows to the size of a groundnut seed it could be six years old." He said breast cancer could only be life threatening if it extended beyond the breast into the blood stream to affect other organs of the body. Mr Ghartey said cancer rated fourth in causes of death in Ghana and 99 per cent of victims were women. ''The risk of developing it is 300 per cent higher in apple shaped (top heavy) obese people than pear shaped people.'' Mr Ghartey said the risk of developing the cancer was also high among people who over use alcohol, take in too much animal fat, start menstruating before 12 years or continue menstruating beyond 53 years. He listed a dimpled breast, swellings in the armpit, sinking nipples and the increase in size of one of the breasts as some of the symptoms of the disease.

Mr Ghartey announced that MAMOCARE was in consultation with Phoenix, an international insuring firm to design an affordable scheme for women in Ghana under which policyholders could have regular checks of their breast and have treatment. He said it was not true that women who allowed men to suck their breast were at a higher risk, saying, "it was rather a bonus since someone conversant with the feel of the breast could detect an anomaly more easily".

Mr Ghartey said while thrusting money into the brassier could not be said to cause breast cancer it remained an unhealthy practice since the breast was a dainty area with more open spores. Mr Veni Demanya, Volta Regional Secretary of the Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT), which organised the seminar, said the Association was not only concerned with the professional development of members but would strive to improve their health status as well. The participants were given the opportunity to have their breasts screened for cancer at a subsidised fee of 10,000 cedis.

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