PsycCare Consult, an organisation championing women’s health and psychological support, has organised a free breast cancer screening exercise for residents of Ashiyie near Accra.
The screening exercise, organised by PsycCare Consult in collaboration with the International Central Gospel Church (ICGC) Heavens Gate Temple, Ashiyie, was preceded by pre-screening counselling and breast cancer education as part of efforts to raise awareness on the disease.
Beneficiaries were prompted to take note of the following signs: “Lump, hard knot or thickening; swelling, warmth, redness or darkening; change in the size or shape; changes in the skin; itchy, scaly sore or rash on the nipple; pulling in of nipple or other parts; unusual nipple discharge; and new pain in one spot that does not go away”.
Dr Yvonne Otubea Otchere, a consulting psychologist and Chief Executive Officer of PsycCare Consult, in an interview with the Ghana News Agency during the screening exercise, said breast cancer was curable and that early detection was key.
She said this year they had actually driven the men’s breast cancer advocacy because the traditional campaigns had centred on women.
“There are huge psychological barriers associated with awareness creation, she noted, adding, “Stigma continues to thrive and breast cancer is commonly viewed as a feminine disease. This year, we have also reoriented our men on breasts cancer,” she said.
“The breast is a symbol of life. A woman is expected to breastfeed her baby during the first two to three years of life! No breasts, no life and the men must understand this and support the campaign by getting screened and encourage the family unit to get screened.”
Dr Otchere noted that “Detection, Treatment and Defeating Breast Cancer”, was this year’s theme, saying, they believed that in detecting breast cancer everyone should be involved; religious organisations, civil societies and the family unit, being a critical unit in fighting the disease.
She said they also believed in the role of spiritual healing, emphasizing that as God’s word is health and it brought healing to the soul, although they were advocating for mainstream treatment to deal with the body, it was important to look at the religious support and coping systems aspect, saying the church then has a critical role to play in this regard.
She also added the adoption of exorcism by religious organisations as treatment for breast cancer patients had contributed to late presentation and imminent deaths.
Dr Otchere said with regards to the third preamble being ‘defeating’, they believed that defeating breast cancer is a mental and a behavioural process and people must get the consciousness that there were viable support systems around to help them even when a lump is detected.
“So, this year we also harnessed the influence of psychology, so we have psychologists coming in to provide pre-screening counselling and post-screening counselling, which is missing from most of the traditional breast cancer campaigns,” Dr Otchere said.
In addition to their psychological counselling, PsycCare provided a guided counselling and had a list of hospitals which they have been able to network with, to get the women who have these challenges with their breasts, have the necessary care.
Dr Otchere, also a Breast Health Advocate, said from previous screening exercises, they noticed that most of the people having breast health challenges were financially limited “so what PsycCare does is to see how these women and men can be helped”.
She appealed for corporate partnership and sponsorship to enable PsycCare Consult reach out to more people, especially, the less privilege and vulnerable in society.
Madam Charlotte Brobbey, a Senior Nursing Officer at the Surgical Department of Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, told the GNA that some beneficiaries had lumps in their breasts whiles others had fluids in their breasts, however, majority of the people screened had no issues.
She also realized that some did not know how to do the self-breast examination so they were being taught, but among the other issues was that some had just ended their menstruation.
Adding that sometimes when a woman is menstruating, it becomes difficult to detect because the breast becomes heavy, she said.
” Even if you check you wouldn’t notice anything, so unless five days after menstruation, so we educate them; if you don’t see anything five days after menstruating, you check again then you do your self breast examination once every month,” she added.
Source: Ghana News Agency