Sekondi, April 14, GNA- Dr Linda Van-Otoo, Deputy Western Regional Director of Public Health, has warned that high alcoholic consumption, lack of regular body exercises and the consumption of fatty foods could speed up the ageing process and increase the risk of breast cancer. She said premature menstruation and shorter periods of breastfeeding among some women could also expose them to breast cancer. Dr Van-Otoo who was speaking at a public forum organised by the National Council for Women and Development (NCWD) in Sekondi on Thursday, said prolonged breastfeeding of infants protected women against breast cancer, while eating of balanced diets including fibre; regular exercises reduced the risk factors.
The forum was on the theme: "Improving The Health Status of Women After 40 years".
Dr Van-Otoo said women who do not have children at all and those who have their first child after 35 years were likely to get breast cancer.
Dr Van-Otoo said as people grew old they were likely to suffer from urinary tract diseases, low fertility, depression, irritation, pneumonia, hearing loss, poor eyesight and weakness of the knee and joints.
She cited breast cancer, which she said caused social, emotional and sexual upsets among patients.
Dr Van-Otoo said cancerous cells spreads in the body, hence the need for women to examine their breasts regularly and seek medical attention when they detect any problem. "Breast cancer is not painful but its effects could be felt in the breast, armpit or near the neck... and could be quickly halted from spreading."
Madam Jane Edna Nyame, Regional Coordinator of the NCWD said the challenges of the HIV/AIDS, sexually transmitted diseases; menopause, breast and cervical cancers were major issues affecting the reproductive health of women.
She said although women lacked specialised facilities for medical attention, there was the need for concerted national efforts to reduce maternal mortality.
Mrs Juliana Kwarteng, a retired Nurse said women must be proactive on health related issues and should not allow their faith or religious beliefs to deny their children medical care. She said women must seek medical advice and avoid self-medication.