UT wages crusade against breast cancer
By Stephen Odoi-Larbi
With the growing threat of breast cancer among Ghanaian women, UT Bank, a subsidiary of UT Group of Companies is mapping out strategies to raise awareness and also to raise funds for the treatment of the disease.
The aim, according to company officials, is to reduce the spread of breast cancer to an appreciable level if not completely eliminated. “Our motivation is to help save lives,” Pearl Esau-Mensah, Executive Director – Finance and Administration of UT Group of Companies told journalists at a press briefing in Accra on Tuesday.
The month of October is recognised as Breast Cancer Awareness Month in the Commonwealth, of which Ghana is a part.
Committed to leaving its footprint in the health sector, as part of its corporate social responsibility, UT Bank has a target to raise GH¢100,000.00 through series of events, to pay off all medical bills of affected Ghanaians, suffering from the breast cancer ailment.
The intent of the fund raising aside, paying all the medical bills of breast cancer patients nationwide, according to Madam Esau-Mensah is to buy Mobile Pre-Screening Unit facilities for the treatment of the disease.
The unit, she noted, will provide easy access to disadvantaged women and men nationwide, to increase the chance of detecting the disease at the early stages and its successful treatment.
With the help of GIZ, an estimated US$50,000 she noted, would be invested in acquiring the Mobile Pre-Screening Unit facilities which would be used by the Cancer Society of Ghana.
Last year (2009), UT Bank, in collaboration with the Cancer Society of Ghana, were able to raise over GH¢ 30,000.00 through a series of events, including the ‘Pink Ball’ event to champion its cause in the fight against breast cancer in the country. 18 people, according to company officials, have so far received assistance for various levels of cancer treatment.
Breast cancer is the second commonest cancer among women in Ghana. It forms 15% of all cancers and accounts for 40% of female cancers in Ghana. Estimates from the World Health Organisation (WHO) put the Age Standardised Incidence Ratio (ASIR) at 37 cases per 100,000 of the population.
In Ghana, most patients present advanced breast cancer disease, many months after first noticing a change in their breasts. The biological nature of breast cancer in Ghana also confers a poorer prognosis.
The WHO estimates that incidence to mortality ratio of Breast cancer in Ghana as 0.68 as compared to 0.2 in the USA. Mortality from the disease is, therefore, relatively high in Ghana.
Breast cancer affects Ghanaians from as young as the age of 20 years, even though most the younger women have sarcomas of the breast. The disease is generally common, as one gets older, but the majority of breast cancer cases in Ghana are between the ages of 40–49 years.
It is estimated that over the next 25 years, 25 million people around the world will be diagnosed with breast cancer –and of these, 10 million could lose their lives. Health experts around the world say with early detection, the rate of survival can be significantly increased.
According to Madam Esau-Mensah, who sounded bitter with the ever increasing rate of breast cancer in the country, her outfit would again on October 22, 2011 hold a ‘Pink Ball’ dinner, where the general public would be invited to donate towards the onerous task of fighting breast cancer in the country.
The bank would also organize a health walk through some principal streets of Accra to distribute information leaflets on breast cancer to raise awareness.
Aside the health walk, the bank would also be at the various market centers including Makola, Kaneshie, Madina, Agbogbloshie, Mallam, Koforidua, Takoradi, Tarkwa, Kumasi and Tamale among many markets countrywide, where a stand would mounted to enable market women and men examine their breasts.
A representative from Citi FM (partners in sponsoring the event), Nii Tackie Attram said the ever increasing rate of breast cancer is alarming. He, therefore, called for early treatment to reduce the rate of death and cost in treating the disease.
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