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29.10.2004 Regional News

Check importation of fatty animal products - Doctor

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Accra, Oct. 29, GNA - A medical officer on Friday suggested to the Food and Drugs Board and the Ghana Standard Board to ensure that fatty animal products were only allowed into the country for reasons other than human consumption.

Dr. Frank Ghartey, Executive Director, Mammocare Ghana, said the consumption of imported turkey tails and other fatty meat products were catalysts to breast cancer and other cardio-vascular diseases that have become common in recent times.

Dr. Ghartey. who spoke at a seminar on breast cancer awareness said the need to intensify education was imperative to effect behavioural change.

He stated that breast cancer accounted for 40 per cent of all cancers in the world and had been rated as the number four cause of death in Ghana.

It starts as a small painless lump either from the armpit or in the breast and then spreads gradually to other organs in the body. He said early detection of breast cancer provided a better chance of treatment, adding that modern technology had moved away from total surgery to breast conservation, if detected early.

Dr Ghartey noted that ignorance, lack of education and poverty had prevented most women from receiving early treatment stating that 24,574 women were currently affected with the disease in the country. This figure accounts for about 0.6 per cent of the female population of the country. He said newly treated breast cancer cases at the Korle-Bu Teaching hospital in year 2002 were 300 as compared to 35 in 1977.

Dr Ghartey attributed the high rate of the disease among women to their biological make-up, citing early menstruation, late menopause, lack of child bearing and short duration of breast-feeding as some of the stimulants of the disease.

"We need to intensify education to encourage the population, especially women to patronise breast cancer facilities and programmes for early detection," he said.

Dr Ghartey said most women for fear of losing their breast prefer herbal treatment to surgery, but stressed that it was not wise to refuse surgery, since the cancer would eat the breast away, leaving the patient in a worse condition than the surgery.

He stated that due to low patronage of the few cancer screening facilities and early detection services available, most screening centres were not able to maintain their staff and sustain their programmes.

Dr Ghartey appealed to the public to consider the importance of encouraging and providing emotional support to breast cancer victims while encouraging them to seek medical attention.

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