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24.02.2005 General News

Ban smoking in public places - government urged

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Winneba (C/R), Feb. 24, GNA - The Medical Superintendent in-charge of the Apam Catholic Mission Hospital, Dr. Charles Ntsiamoah Takyi, has stressed the need for government to muster the necessary political will to ban smoking in public places. Similar ban should also be placed on radio and television advertisements on alcoholic beverages in the country, while a sustained effort be made to initiate a strong awareness programme to educate the people continuously on the dangers associated with smoking and alcoholism.

Dr. Takyi was giving a talk on cancer organised by leaders of the University of Education Winneba (UCEW) branch of NUGS Women's Commission at Winneba on Wednesday. The theme for the lecture was, "Cancer, A threat To Women's Development". About 200 students of the university, mostly females, attended the lecture, which took participants through the risks, prevention and solutions to cancer problems.

According to Dr. Takyi in almost 95 per cent of cancer cases worldwide the cause is unknown, but there are factors to help explain some occurrences, adding, "all of us are at risk." Dr. Takyi said the promotion of radio and television advertisements on smoking and alcoholic preparations in the country poses great danger to the battle waged by the Ministry of Health against the devastating effects of lung cancer and other cancers caused by smoking and alcohol. He strongly advised Ghanaians to adopt healthy lifestyles including, the avoidance of the eating of oily and fatty foods, to save them from developing dangerous and destructive health problems.

On breast and cervix cancers, Dr. Takyi an expert in gynaecology health issues, advised women to subject themselves to regular medical examinations to ensure early detection of such diseases. He said this would enable them to secure an early and better solution to these health problems perceived by many people as the "most dreadful" health issues confronting women world-wide.

Dr. Takyi advised women to take advantage of modern health facilities like, mammography and screening equipment at Cocoa Clinic, Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, 37 Military Hospital, Komfo Anokye and other big hospitals in the country to conduct regular tests on their breasts to guarantee the state of their health all the time. He said they could also contact leading private hospitals and clinics in the regions, which have similar equipment for regular tests, adding that self examination of the breast could also help them to identify lumps, which often lead to the development of serious breast cancer.

Dr. Takyi described breast cancer as the most common cancer, which has been silently killing a lot of women in the country in recent years, because the disease normally starts as a small painless lump in the breast, which if not detected in good time could pose a serious threat to the life of the affected patient. He classified cancer of the cervix as the commonest among women, saying that 60 per cent of cervix cancer was reported very late for medical attention and counselled women who are experiencing such problem to ensure early report of it for treatment.

Dr. Takyi said majority of cervix cancer cases are linked with a viral sexually transmitted disease called, "Human Pappilomavirus" and mentioned early sexual activity, many sexual partners, frequent infection of sexually transmitted diseases as some of the risk factors, which could lead to cervix cancer. He therefore, advised young girls and women in the middle age bracket to endeavour to avoid the risk factors outlined in order not to develop the disease. He commended leaders of the various women's groups at the university for their continued determination and love in organising such important lectures periodically, to keep female students of the university in particular, abreast with crucial health issues concerning women.

Dr. Takyi also commended male students who attended the function for the courage they mustered and urged them to advise their spouses to avail themselves of the mammography and other screening equipment in the country to do regular examination on their health, especially on their breast.

Miss Ophelia Quartey, Vice Dean of Student Affairs of the university described the lectures as highly educative, adding that it would go a long way to assist them equip their children in various educational institutions with the requisite knowledge on sexually transmitted diseases after graduation.

Dr. Mrs. Adelia Effie Arkest, a Senior Lecturer of the Home Economic Department of the university, who chaired the function on behalf of the organising body expressed appreciation to the guest speaker and assured him that they would put the knowledge acquired at the function to good use, to save women from the various cancers.

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