Health Minister, Dr Kwaku Afriyie, on Wednesday, has disclosed that over 20 million people worldwide die out of cancer each year.
This figure, he said, included the young, old, poor and the rich.
Dr Afriyie made this startling disclosure when he read a speech on behalf of the Vice President Alhaji Aliu Mahama at the launching of the cancer society of Ghana in Accra. He said, statistics from the World Health Organization (WHO) indicated that cancer was one of the most common causes of high morbidity and mortality rates, with more than 10 million new cases and 6 million deaths each year, worldwide.
According to the minister, what was worrying the more was the fact that "half of all cancer cases occur in developing countries such as Ghana."
The minister further noted that the poor economic and social conditions in which Ghanaians lived, tended to compound matters and added that, to arrest the situation, the government initiated and implemented the Ghana Poverty Reduction Strategy (GPRS) aimed at reducing or totally eliminating poverty in the country.
He further gave the assurance that the government was also enthusiastic to co-operate with the cancer society of Ghana as well as other NGOs in the war against cancer.
"There is therefore the need for the development of a comprehensive national preventive and control programme as emphasized by WHO," he said.
The minister, further suggested that the society as a matter of urgency, should draw proactive and pragmatic programmes with the aim of educating Ghanaians on cancer and also provide reliefs, consolation and comforting care through the provision of pain reliefs and psychosocial support saying, "There is therefore the need for the development of a comprehensive national preventive and control programme as emphasized by WHO."
In his address, Mr. Yaw Adu Boahen, a trustee of the society said the society was dedicated to the minimization of the incidence of cancer, commitment to helping everyone who faced cancer, through education, enhanced access to patient care, early detective and research commitment.
He stated also that, they needed the collaborative effort of stakeholders to develop an accurate national research register and to implement appropriate educational access and palliative care strategies.
He further outlined the objectives of the launching of the society as, signaling the people of Ghana on the existence of a cancer society, creating awareness, raising funds to support the society and alerting potential collaborators.