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World Cancer Day: Liver cancer topples all cancer death in Ghana

…Prostate cancer also beats breast and cervical cancer

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu, The Author

World Cancer Day is an annual occasion on the global calendar the entire world band together in the fight against the global cancer epidemic. It takes place every year on 4 February. The day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness and education about cancer and pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action against the disease.

In Ghana, though the statistics of cancers varies due to lack of well-defined national cancer register to collate national figures. The few statistics available which is made public appears alarming with high mortality rate.  Though with breast cancer there has been tremendous progress made the mortality rate is not something to take away.The number of men dying from prostate cancer is outrageous based on figures available.

Though advances in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer are paying off, and increased funding could benefit prostate cancer. Recently, the Ghana News Agency reported that about 60,000 cancer cases are recorded annually. This was also attributed to report made known to the media by Dr Joel Yarney, the Head of the Medical Centre for Radiotherapy and Nuclear Medicine at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital. In another report in the Daily guide, Seventy percent of cancer deaths in Ghana could be prevented if healthy lifestyles are adopted and early detection is made, this was attributed to DrEfuaCommeh of the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) Programme, Ghana Health Service (GHS). DrCommeh indicated that of the 16,000 new cancer cases recorded yearly in the country, more than 44 percent results in deaths.

“Data from the Ghana Health Service shows that 3052 cases of cervical cancer were recorded in 2015 out of which 1556 died, representing 51 percent, breast cancer also recorded 2260 cases with 1021 deaths, representing 45 percent, prostate cancer has 912 cases being recorded with 680 deaths, representing 75 percent.

Liver cancer had the highest fatality rate of 97 percent, claiming 1,856 lives out of 1923 cases recorded with 1,000 childhood cancers being recorded,” she said

I break down the findings for urgent national attention.

More men die of prostate cancer annually than Breast and Cervical cancer according to data obtained from GHS 2015

Source: Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Fig. 1 more men die of prostate cancer than breast and cervical cancer now in Ghana according to Ghana Health Service 2015 reports.

Only 232 men are able to survive prostate cancer in Ghana when diagnosed compared to breast and cervical cancer.

Liver cancer has poor survival rate in Ghana according to data from GHS 2015.

Source: Raphael Nyarkotey Obu
Fig 2.More people now die from Liver cancer than any other cancer in Ghana. Ghana cancer deaths situation in2015 according to statistics from Ghana Health Service

Only 67 Ghanaians are able to survive liver cancer in general; yet no awareness

Fig 3.Source: Raphael Nyarkotey Obu

With liver cancer only 3% are able to survive it, 49% survive cervical cancer, 55% survive breastcancer and only 25% also do survive prostate cancer. This is very worrying as the country itself has no well-defined national cancer register to be able to collate all the figures. This assessment is based on the Ghana Health Service data in 2015 published in the Daily guide.
National Intervention Needed
From the statistics, though there have been public awareness on cancers, it appears the nation has lost control on the cancer situation on the mortality rate and urgent national attention is needed to address this. Interestingly, the president, Nana AddoDanquahAkuffo government in their 2016 manifesto promised a special cancer policy, the nation is yet to see any green light. The government in their manifesto promised to recognize the increasing incidence of cancers (childhood cancers, breast cancer, cervical cancer, prostate and other cancers) as a national problem, establish centers at all levels of our healthcare delivery system for screening, diagnosis, early detection and prevention of these cancers, paid for under the restructured and revitalized NHIS. It is time for the government to take action on this campaign promise. Ghana needs a national cancer foundation to start addressing this cancer situation.
The author of this article is urgently calling on the government to us a matter of urgency constituents a committee to start addressing the cancer situation in the country.

Raphael Nyarkotey Obu: Da Vinci college of Holistic Medicine, Larnaca city, Cyprus

About Efo Korsi Senyo | Executive Editor

Efo Korsi Senyo has over 5 years experience working as an investigative journalist with Awake Africa. He is the Executive Editor of Awake Newspaper and Head of Awake Investigates. Efo does not only investigate and publish based on the journalism profession ethics but he also brings legal and civil actions against personalities and institutions he investigated. He said fighting against injustice and corruption in society as the only way for him to avenge injustice and corrupt acts he and other vulnerable people faced and continue to face in society. Efo is also a private investigator, IT expert and entrepreneur. Connect with him via senyo@awakeafrica.com or WhatsApp: +233249155003

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