31 Days of Impact – Day 12, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe
The story of breast cancer is the story of people. Learn about Komen’s impact and work in the fight against breast cancer as told through the eyes of breast cancer survivors, researchers, community health workers and advocates. Read more stories.
DR. BEATRICE WIAFE ADDAI, MD, PhD, GHANA – Advocate
“We believe that in our own inimitable and special Ghanaian way, we could contribute to raising awareness of this disease, which affects us all in varying degrees — women, men and children.”
“We have been working on demystifying such ideas about breast cancer among the population, especially women. We empower them with some basic knowledge about the disease, which is all aimed at early detection so as to reduce suffering and deaths from breast cancer.”
“When it comes to breast cancer, the women of Ghana have been fed endless myths and misconceptions.”
When it comes to breast cancer, the women of Ghana have been fed endless myths and misconceptions, thus preventing them from seeking early medical treatment. I knew that it was crucial for these women and men to be educated about breast cancer, encouraged to get screened and provided with treatment options. More than 2,000 Ghanaian women are diagnosed with breast cancer each year, many in late stages of the disease. With help, I’ve made it a personal mission to change this.
As a breast surgeon, consultant in breast cancer management and the Chief Executive Officer of the Peace and Love Hospitals in Accra and Kumasi, I saw firsthand what basic knowledge about the disease can do – which is all aimed at early detection to reduce the death rate of breast cancer patients. In October of 2002, I founded Breast Care International (BCI), a leading breast cancer awareness and research organization in Ghana, to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer programs throughout the country. Women are being taught how to do their own breast self-awareness, and they are given access to clinical screening, diagnosis, counseling, treatment and rehabilitation as far as breast cancer is concerned.
After talking loudly and to enough people, I thought it was time to bring the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure to Ghana, as we believe that in our own inimitable and special Ghanaian way, we could contribute to raising awareness of this disease, which affects us all in varying degrees – women, men and children. Komen has granted more than $462,000 in funding to Ghana for programs that educate Ghanaian women about breast cancer, encourage screening and provide treatment. Last year’s Komen race was filled with more than 12,000 walkers and runners who were all there for the same reason – to end breast cancer.
We’ve come so far, but we’re not anywhere close to being done yet. Ignorance is killing our women and we have to fight it by empowering them with knowledge about the disease. My goal is to challenge the Ghanaian women to disabuse their minds of the misconceptions and to show them that we’re here to provide support, resources and access to care. We will not stop until there is a cure for breast cancer.
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About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen for the Cure and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen for the Cure is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.