Women cautioned against excessive use of hormonal pills

The Head of the Medical Unit, GIHOC Distilleries Clinic, Dr Nana Ama Owusu-Agyeman, has cau­tioned women against the frequent usage of hormon­al pills to protect themselves against the risk of developing breast cancer.

She stated that breast cancer was the second leading cause of cancer-related fa­talities in both genders globally and called for a preventative approach to fight the menace in Ghana.

The medical practitioner in an exclusive interview with the Ghanaian Times defined breast cancer as the abnormal growth or replication of breast cells.

She emphasised that breast cancer was not limited to females alone but could as well happen to males.

“The disease is very common in females but rare in males representing about one per cent,” she added.

Dr Owusu-Agyeman further mentioned that apart from cancer in the breast, there were many other breast diseases which are benign (not cancerous) like fibroadenoma, mastitis (Inflammation of the Breast), breast cyst among others.

For better prognosis or disease out­come, she stressed that early detection was key and saves lives, and encouraged men and women to take the opportunity to be screened, at least once or twice a year, or do a self- breast examination and report findings to clinicians when they notice any unusual changes like painful or painless lumps in the breast, sores around the nipples, discolouration of breast, redness or pitting of skin around breast, discharge from the nipple which could sometimes be bloody, dimpling or traction of the nipples, and enlarged lymph nodes.

She explained that some pre-disposing factors to developing breast cancer in­cluded family history of the disease, being female, old age, exposure to radiations, obesity, alcohol intake, early menarche, late menopause.

Dr Owusu-Agyeman shared how she painfully lost a patient to breast cancer three years ago, due to failure to comply to treatment by the patient, and added how she got the opportunity to host a breast cancer survivor, Mrs Georgina Setorwu Kumah-Dzagah, two years ago at the GIHOC Distilleries, who shared her story with the company’s staff, and encouraged them to annually screen for breast cancer.

“People are surviving the disease so there is no need to get scared. Screening is very important because it helps with early detection which promotes effective treatment and increases survival, so I en­courage everyone to strictly go by doctor’s advice after a breast cancer diagnosis be­cause surviving is highly possible, especial­ly when detected early,” she advised.

She revealed that treatment options of breast cancer could include the surgical removal of mass or breast, chemotherapy, radiotherapy depending on the clinical or pathological staging.

The main goal of the treatment, she said, was to localise the cancer cells and prevent them from spreading to other vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver, kidneys and spine.

“Investigations that could be done before a breast cancer diagnosis include an ultrasound of the breast mammogram and biopsy. Whether you have small or big breasts get them checked at least once each year,” she added.

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