End breast cancer stigmatisation Mrs Sumani
Mrs Ramatu Sumani
A cancer advocate, Mrs Ramatu Sumani has urged women to champion the course to end stigmatisation against breast cancer patients and survivors.
According to her, misconceptions surrounding the disease was a major contributory factor to the reason most survivors and sufferers of the disease continued to live in fear.
Mrs Sumani made the assertion in an interview with The Spectator on Monday.
She said it was important for women to come out in their numbers to speak to issues confronting them if they wanted to make the country and world safer and better for themselves and young girls.
She said women’s active participation in the fight against breast cancer stigma could help raise awareness about the importance of early detection methods such as regular self-examinations and mammograms, stressing that when more women are knowledgeable about the risks and symptoms of breast cancer, lives can be saved through early diagnosis and treatment.
She said cancer among Ghanaian women, especially breast cancer should be of concern to every woman, considering the high number of women who are diagnosed of the disease in Ghana each year, and the fact that many breast cancer patients need to undergo surgery to remove the affected breast or both breast as part of the treatment.
“The stigmatisation usually arises when people start pointing at women who have lost their breasts to cancer, to the extent that newly diagnosed ones do not want to even report to any health facility when they notice abnormalities in their breast.”
“This is not what we want as women. We should rather focus on encouraging each other than gossiping about our sisters without breast. This is bad. Let us rise above such acts and render support to each other. If it happens to your sister today, it can happen to you tomorrow so let us all come together to show love to breast cancer fighters and survivors,” she said.
Touching on the rate of breast cancer among women in Ghana, Mrs Sumani, who is also a breast cancer survivor and organiser for the Cancer Support Network Foundation said the World Health Organisation (WHO) – Cancer Country Profile of Ghana 2020, shows that breast cancer is the number one cancer among women in Ghana with an incidence of 20.4 per cent and a relatively high mortality rate.
That, she said, was not encouraging therefore efforts against all obstacles hindering the progress of the fight against the disease in Ghana should be intensified as a matter of urgency, to save lives.
Stigmatisation, she said, can have severe psychological and emotional effects on breast cancer patients and survivors, “however women’s involvement in challenging stigmatisation can contribute to the creation of a supportive environment that uplifts and encourages those affected by the disease,” Mrs Sumani added.
By Raissa Sambou