Data on breast cancer in Ghana indicates that this is one of the leading causes of deaths in women in the country. Many women have lost their lives due to it. Among the features of breast cancer that make the situation severe include large tumor sizes, high grade histologic sub-type, and a decrease in hormone receptor rates.
Studies also reveal that African women are more likely to suffer from breast cancer, compared to women in the developed countries. This article examines the incidence of breast cancer in Ghana. Keep scrolling.
Breast cancer prevalence in Ghana
As of today, breast cancer is one of the diseases that many people should get tested for, not only in Ghana but in several places around the world. It has become very prevalent and without early diagnosis, the disease becomes very severe that it is difficult to treat it completely. This explains why quite a number of people die from this disease.
Aforementioned, breast cancer in black women is usually characterized by very severe features. However, there are no explanations that have been accepted universally to describe this scenario. Genetic, clinical and other studies in the medical field conducted to investigate about breast cancer in African women indicate that these women have a very aggressive biology. Other studies conducted in the recently indicate other reasons for the severity of breasts cancer in black women. Among the reasons include the lack of awareness about the disease, the lack of methods to screen, risk factors from epidemiology and late stage in the diagnosis. Additionally breast cancer is a heterogeneous disease and very complicated. Its severity varies based on ethnicity and racial differences.
Being that breast cancer varies between people of different ethnicities and races, the kind of treatment and management also differs. Every community must define the disc tint characteristics so as to come up with the best control and prevention strategies. This goes a long way in preventing mortalities but people must be exposed to the latest technologies of screening cancer.
Statistics of breast cancer in Ghana
To determine the facts about breast cancer in Ghana, a research study was carried out at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. During the period, an assessment of patients who had lumps on their breasts was conducted through imaging studies, pathological and clinical examinations. The presence of breast cancer was proven microscopically. The modified Bloom-Richardson system was used to grade the cancers. Antigens and reagents that were prepared commercially were used to detect estrogen stains, progesterone receptors and c-erb2 oncogene. During the time when the study was conducted 19, 143 patients were examined. Through the microscopic diagnosis method, 330 patients were found out to have breast cancer. This was just 22.3% of the malignancies that were diagnosed by the clinicians. In 248 patients, breast lumps were discovered. 281 patients who were screened had Stages III and IV breast cancer, 271 had invasive cancer and 230 had high grade carcinomas.
Breast cancer distribution with regards to various factors
Further information revealed from this study was the age distribution of breast cancer in Ghana. The mean age for all the people used in the study was 49.1 years. From the age distribution of 330 patients with breast cancer, it was discovered that the prevalence of cancer was in people between the ages of 40 to 49 years. The rate of breast cancer was least in women older than 91 years of age. Below is an outline of the prevalence of breast cancer with regards to age.
20 to 29 years -4.50%
30 to 39 years- 20%
40 to 49 years- 29.70%
50 to 59 years- 19.20%
60 to 69 years- 14.20%
70 to 79 years- 7.60%
90+ years- 0.90%
Breast cancer not only affects women but men as well. In the research study, it was discovered that the occurrence of this disease is more common in women than in men. Out of 330 people with breast cancer, only 5 were men and the 325 were women. Notably, there are similar symptoms of the disease in both genders. However, the breast cancer in men can take a long time before it is discovered. This is because of the lack of awareness and also the fact that the men have a very small breast tissue making it hard to detect the cancer. Signs such as lumps in the chest and bleeding of nipples are some of the symptoms that show a man has this disease. It is also good to note that cancer in men can likely occur to those between the ages of 60 and 70 years.
3. Menopausal status
Studies about the prevalence of breast cancer in Ghana also revealed that the disease is more common in individuals before menopause. Out of the 330 people with breast cancer, 241 of them were pre menopause while the other 89 were in their post menopause period.
4. Marital status
Breast cancer in Ghana is more prevalent in people who are not married than those who are married. The study conducted at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital revealed that out of 330 people with breast cancer, 155 were married and the other 175 people were not married. The difference is minimal but very significant.
The prevalence of breast cancer in relation to occupation was also investigated. It was found that the disease is most prevalent in people in the trader/ artisan and unemployed people with percentages of 37 and 33.9 respectively.
6. Education level
Breast cancer is more prevalent in people who have post primary education than in those who have primary education and no education at all. The prevalence of the disease in Ghana is at 46.7% for the groups with post primary education, 32.1% in those who are not educate at all and 21.2% in people who have primary education.
Breast cancer was also prevalent in people who live in urban areas than those who reside in semi urban and rural areas. Out of 330 people with breast cancer, 224 lived in the urban, 55 in the rural and 51 in semi-urban areas.
READ ALSO: 12 ways to prevent cancer
Tips for preventing and controlling breast cancer
Without any doubt, breast cancer is a killer disease. In the recent past, many women have suffered from the disease and even succumbed to death. The best way to deal with cancer is to prevent it as when someone contracts it, they live in pain and sometimes it spreads to other parts of the body. Additionally, the amount of money spent in cancer treatment is extremely high. This explains why some people end up dying as they cannot afford to get treatment.
Listed here are some of the ways that breast cancer can be prevented and controlled
- Limit the amount of alcohol intake
Alcohol is good to some people for relaxation purposes but it is never a good option when you want to prevent breast cancer. By drinking a lot of alcohol, you increase the chances of getting breast cancer.
- Don’t smoke
Avoiding smoking is a practice recommended for the prevention of many diseases including breast cancer. Smoking exposes one to this disease. This scenario is more common in premenopausal women.
- Control your weight
If you are overweight you not only attract heart disease and obesity but breast cancer as well. Ensure to exercise and get to the required body weight.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle. Being active increase your overall health further preventing the risk of contracting breast cancer. Occasionally, engage in aerobic and strength training exercises.
- Eat healthy
Ensure to eat a healthy diet. Avoid junk food. Plant based foods such as legumes, nuts, whole grains, vegetables and fruits can help you avoid the risk of getting breast cancer.
- Go for screening regularly
Unlike in the past, people can now detect the presence of breast cancer in their bodies very early. Make sure to go for breast cancer screening regularly. Also, if you notice lumps on your breast, you should contact the doctor. Early screening of breast cancer goes a long way in preventing it from spreading. Most people that deaths due to breast cancer are as a result of diagnosis when the disease is at late stage.
Also once diagnosed with cancer, you need to follow all the treatments of the doctor. Do not be very worried as breast cancer can be cured.
Breast cancer has become prevalent in Ghana. Any person can get the disease but it is most common to people who are in their premenopausal period. Also, it is more prevalent in women than in men. The good news is that breast cancer can be prevented and treated. All you have to do is embrace a healthy lifestyle- eat well and exercise. Avoid things such as alcohol and cigarettes, as they deplete your health. People should also go for breast cancer screening regularly.