The Trust Hospital has launched its 2022 Pink October Breast Cancer Awareness Month with a strong emphasis on early detection, whilst introducing its chemotherapy service to provide clinical care to persons at an advanced stage of the illness.
The move forms part of the hospital’s effort to effectively support women’s general healthcare; a trigger to the establishment of the Trust Hospital’s Well Woman Clinic 15 years ago.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Trust Hospital, Dr. Juliana Oye Ameh, said the chemotherapy facility, which was established in partnership with Roche Pharmaceuticals and situated at the hospital’s Premium Centre, will provide quality treatment at an affordable price.
She said this during the launch, which had as its theme: ‘Driving Towards Holistic Breast Cancer Care’.
“Last year, we announced that we were at the initial stages of starting our chemotherapy service. I am excited to announce that with the help of Roche Pharmaceuticals, this dream has come to fruition. The chemotherapy service will help many women who struggle to access treatment conveniently at very affordable rates,” she said.
“We have put together a multi-disciplined team of various specialists including an oncologist as the first step in our cancer treatment strategy,” she added.
Dr. Ameh disclosed that the hospital is offering a 50% discount at all its service centers to help provide financial assistance to patients.
“During the height of the pandemic, we took the bold decision to slash the cost of breast scans and mammograms by half. This was in direct fulfilment of our core mandate and purpose of encouraging preventive health, especially among women. We are continuing with our promise of a 50% discount on all breast scans and mammograms. A request from all our nine facilities and community activations will be honoured by our radiology department,” she explained.
According to A Professor of Surgery at the University of Ghana Medical School (UGMS) and Lead Breast Cancer Advocate, Professor Clegg Lamptey, the level of breast cancer screening among Ghanaian women is unsatisfactory, compared to their peers across the globe.
He said, as a result, many cases are diagnosed at advanced stages leading to poor outcomes including mortality.
“One out of every five cancers is breast cancer, which is the most common cancer in our nation. The death rate from breast cancer is high in our current society because most cases are discovered very late and affect one in three women, making it even more crucial,” Prof. Lamptey remarked.
He stated that there are approximately 4,500 new cases of breast cancer diagnosed annually in the country, with up to 2,000 instances of death.
“In Ghana, there are only about 40 new cases of breast cancer per 100,000 people, compared to about 100 in North America or Austria, but our death rates are still three times higher than theirs. The primary cause of death is that diagnoses arrive too late,” he said.
“It is important to regularly conduct self-checks because early detection lowers the overall mortality rate, which is what we aim to do,” he added.
Delivering the Chairperson’s remark, Board Chair of the Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT), Elizabeth Ohene urged women not to be afraid to have their breasts examined because it can save lives. According to her, myths associated with breast cancer have been dispelled by advances made in technology, as such, persons who have been diagnosed must be willing to seek assistance when necessary.
“Breast cancer need not be a secret anymore, nor do we need to be afraid to tell our friends about it. As long as there is a quick detection, it is not a death sentence. Breast cancer is no longer something to be ashamed of because something can and is being done to help find a cure,” she said
She encouraged all stakeholders to be actively involved in sensitizing people on the need to get their breasts checked regularly. “We should all be ready to tell people to treat it the same way we treat other sicknesses like malaria and the other sickness,” Mrs. Ohene added.
Commercial Head for Roche Ghana, Wilson Nyansah said the partnership with Trust Hospital is a strategic measure aimed at increasing access to diagnostics and treatment in order to help reduce the morbidity and mortality rate of women facing breast cancer. “At Roche, our focus has been establishing a strong partnership with the private sector to deliver quality cancer care to Ghanaian patients and we chose Trust as a trustworthy partner to work with on the journey of advancing and providing cancer care to patients,” he said.
Free breast cancer screening will be organized at different locations and for different organisations including SSNIT Head office, Prudential Bank Ghana, SIC, Hollard Insurance, GHIPSS, GIS, Sakumono District Cluster of Schools, the Presbyterian Church of Ghana and Glory land Assemblies. Organisations can also contact management of Trust Hospital to request for the free screening services.