Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai says the deaths were partly caused by a halt in medical services for some patients during the lockdown.
The former chair of the Ghana Cancer Board, Dr Beatrice Wiafe Addai, has revealed that over 2000 women died from breast cancer in 2020.
Speaking to Asaase News, Dr Addai said the deaths were partly caused by a halt in medical services for some patients in the lockdown.
“According to Globocan (New Global Cancer Data 2020), if in 2019 in Ghana, for example, we lost about thousand and eight hundred women to breast cancer, in 2020, we lost over 2,000. So the number of people dying from breast cancer has increased,” she said.
She explained that the impact of COVID-19, particularly during the lockdown, affected most medical treatment for cancer patients.
“There was a lot of disruption in treatment. All surgeries were suspended. So people with breast cancer at the early stage who needed the lumpectomy or breast conserving surgery, could not have their surgeries,” Dr Addai said.
According to statistics from the New Global Cancer, female breast cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer, surpassing lung cancer, in particular due to high prevalence in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
Lung cancer remains the leading cause of cancer deaths, not only in many LMICs but also in higher-income regions such as North America, Europe and Australia.
Dr Addai, who doubles as a breast surgeon, urged the government to do more to support the treatment of breast cancer.
“In Ghana, we don’t have any support system when it comes to breast cancer. The government can partner civil society organisations working to create awareness on breast cancer. The Ghana Health Service can also retrain some of their nurses in the CHPs compound to also embark on the awareness creation exercise,” she said.