Breast cancer in the estimation of WHO is one of the world’s most prevalent cancers. It is indeed the second biggest killer of women after cervical cancer. Unfortunately, studies indicate that many women do not take the time to get examined despite its debilitating nature. In the past five years, 7.8 million women have been diagnosed with breast cancer with about 1.7 million cases diagnosed every year. The steady rise of the disease is a wake-up call for political actors to rise up to their responsibilities.

In Ghana and the world over, October has been designated breast cancer awareness month with a sharp focus on raising funds for research into the causes, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure for the disease. Indeed, a cursory glance around shows that the ‘October Pink Month’ for breast cancer awareness creation has caught on with the public with groups of women supported by some men getting involved in highlighting the dangers of the disease. Awareness creation has become imperative due to the alarming and deadly nature of the disease. Lack of adequate public awareness, access to health facilities, and access to timely, affordable, and effective treatment has seen many women die of the disease.

Unlike the Western world, the facilities that have the ‘Mammogram’ machine and other instruments to check the rise of cases in Ghana are not readily available in every district and region. However, attempts to reduce the cases by governments, health experts, stakeholders, are indeed very commendable.

Early diagnosis according to health authorities saves lives and gives room for treatment and care. As women forcefully commit to achieving gender equality, it is important that women take care of their breasts and get involved in the opportunities offered to all females to have their breasts screened or checked during breast cancer awareness month.

The NCCE adds its voice to the numerous calls on women to have their breasts examined periodically for any unusual lumps for early treatment. To the NCCE, the Ghanaian woman remains the fulcrum to which the family, the society, and indeed the nation is built around. Women in Ghana have played diverse roles in contributing to national growth and development. Government and health partners should invest in clinical breast examination as an important area of research, make a deliberate effort to make breast cancer treatment affordable. Many women today, for fear of the unknown stay away from health facilities and endure the pain and health challenges breast cancer inflicts on them. Let’s also fight stigma to raise breast cancer awareness in Ghana and more importantly provide palliative care for women facing the disease.

The NCCE doffs its hat to all the volunteers and stakeholders who are raising awareness on this health issue. The Commission entreats government to deliberately resource the necessary agencies to reduce the occurrence. All women must show up at screening centres to have their breasts examined and the men as well since men form about one percent of breast cancer cases globally. The call to government is perhaps to provide screening facilities beyond regional capitals, and provide perhaps mobile clinics to attend to the remotest communities to benefit all women.

As we raise our voices on gender equality, we must be mindful that women’s health is critical to advocacy for gender equality and affirmative action. And whilst we encourage women, let our men also support us by getting screened.

Long live Ghana!

Long live Ghanaian women!

Yes to gender equality!

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