Dispel superstition, stigmatisation about breast cancer …families,friends of survivors told
● Madam Abudu
A breast cancer survivor, Madam Atika Abudu, has asked family members and friends to support breast cancer patients to help them cope with the disease treatment and management.
According to Madam Atika, the lack or limited support from family and friends could also lead to emotional distress among breast cancer patients.
She said this in an interview with The Spectator in Accra during the lunch of Breast Society of Ghana (BSoG), a fortnight ago.
The 38-year old Midwife at the Nyankpala Health Center in the Tolon District of the Northern region said some family members believe that this illness was punishment from supernatural forces or curses, hence the lack of support.
She said being diagnosed of the disease can affect one’s mental health, leading to depression, anxiety, and low self-esteem.
She said the support could be in the form of finance, privacy, emotional and psychological, adding that such support helps promote understanding and empathy for breast cancer patients.
Madam Abudu said it also boosts confidence, fights stigmatisation and helps the patient receive timely and appropriate medical care.
She said when she was diagnosed of the disease, her family initially expressed shock, concern, and fear, adding that her husband was concerned about the impact on their family’s reputation and future.
Madam Abudu said “till date my family never believed it was cancer.”
Madam Abudu called on health authorities to raise awareness, improve healthcare access, and help dispel superstitions and stigmatisation of the disease especially in the Northern region.
She also urged government to provide a mammogram machine for the Tamale Teaching Hospital (TTH) as patients would spend huge sums of money to travel to Kumasi or Accra to have their mammogram sessions.
By Jemima Esinam Kuatsinu