Cancer is a large group of diseases that can start in almost any organ or tissue of the body when abnormal cells grow uncontrollably, go beyond their usual boundaries to invade adjoining parts of the body and/or spread to other organs and tissues.
According to the World Health Organization, it is the second leading cause of death globally, accounting for an estimated 9.6 million deaths, or one in six deaths, in 2018. Lung, prostate, colorectal, stomach and liver cancer are the most common types of cancer in men, while breast, colorectal, lung, cervical and thyroid cancer are the most common among women.
The Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) stipulates that 70% of cancer deaths occur in low to middle-income countries. In Ghana, it is estimated that 24, 009 cases of cancer occur annually, yielding an age-standardized rate of 115.9 cases per 100,000 persons (GLOBOCAN 2020).
Research has proven that at least one-third of common cancers are preventable, however, due to low awareness of cancer in Ghana, most of the cases presented at health facilities are brought when cancer is well advanced hence the high loss of lives.
As Ghana marks World Cancer Day on February 4, 2022, with the theme, ‘close the care gap’, Hope for Future Generations (HFFG) as a national women-focused and community-based non-governmental organization calls on stakeholders to boost national conversations on equity in cancer care as well as preventive measures.
In the spirit of Ghana’s Universal Health Coverage roadmap, closing the cancer care gap means we must work to remove the barriers that exist for many people in accessing services and receiving the care they need. Every individual in Ghana must have timely access to high-quality cancer care services irrespective of his or her financial status.
HFFG further calls on the Ministry of Health, the Ghana Health Service and all allied agencies to ensure there is the availability of affordable essential medicines and technologies required to control all forms of cancers at all levels.
We also call on government and the private health facilities to integrate cervical and breast cancer screening into OPD services for women above for 40 years and HIV services for Persons Living with HIV.
Let’s unite and join hands to raise awareness and educate people on the various type of cancers and the need for early detection to save lives.