As the world commemorates October every year as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, a campaign to help increase the attention and support for the awareness, early detection and treatment of breast cancer, the Women Fellowship of the Ho Central district were not left out. On Sunday 24th October 2021, a Health Practitioner from the Ho Teaching Hospital, Madam Sincere Lukutor honoured the invitation from the women’s group to educate them on breast cancer.
Madam Sincere Lukutor touched on several pertinent topics related to breast cancer. Some of them included the causes and prevention of breast cancer, as well as, the types of cancers the cells in the breasts that grow and divide into an uncontrolled way. She enlightened participants on how breast cancer can affect both females and males but is much more common among women than men. She mentioned that many different things can affect the chances of getting breast cancer, for there is no single cause. She added that breast cancer results from a combination of the way we live our lives, our genes and our environment.
She also explained some of the causes of breast cancer under the following areas:
The risks of developing breast cancer increase with age. The disease is most common among women over 50 years old who have reached the menopausal stage. She added that all women who are between the ages of 50 and 70 should get screened for breast cancer.
People have a higher risk of developing breast cancer or ovarian cancer if there is a history of the disease in the family. Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women, and there is the possibility of affecting more than one person in the family due to the genetic makeup of the family.
Research shows that women who use contraceptives for many years have a slightly increased risk of developing breast cancer. However, the risk starts to decrease once you stop taking the pills and the risk of breast cancer is back to normal in about 10 years.
People who are overweight or obese have a high risk of getting breast cancer. This is linked to the amount of estrogen in the body, as being overweight or obese after menopause causes more estrogen to be produced.
Madam Sincere Lukutor cautioned women to desist from too much alcohol consumption. Drinking alcohol increases the risk of getting breast cancer. People who drink even small amounts of alcohol regularly have a greater risk of breast cancer than people who do not drink alcohol at all.
She cautioned women who use their brassieres as purses in which they put money and mobile phones to desist from it. This type of exposure could result in having many fluoroscopy X-rays or being treated with radiation to the chest area that could also cause breast cancer.
Signs of Breast Cancer
The most common sign of breast cancer is the breast lump. The body produces certain warning signs and the most common is located anywhere from the chest wall to under the armpit. Breasts bleeding or discharge, redness and swelling in any area of the breast, flat or curved in nipple, dimpling of the skin, skin changes on the breast or nipple, increase in size or change in the shape of the breast are some of the symptoms.
Maintain a healthy weight, be physically active, regular exercising, eat enough fruits and vegetables, avoid excessive alcohol intake. She advised that people should consume more vegetables, fruits, calcium-rich dairy products but less red and processed meats. She also motivated the women to take cut down on fat and sugar intake. Also, exclusive breastfeeding helps in reducing breast cancer therefore women must take breastfeeding seriously.
Madam Lukutor concluded by demonstrating how to do a self-examination of the breast and how to identify any abnormality that may occur in the breast. She said early diagnosis remains the cornerstone of breast cancer control. When found early, and if adequate diagnosis and treatments are available, there is a good chance that breast cancer can be cured.
The training impacted participants positively. They requested more of such educative programs. The Women Fellowship made a donation to Sister Sroda Atisu to support her in catering for her hospital bills.