According to the World Health Organization, about half a million women die from breast cancer each year, with 70 percent of these deaths occurring in low and middle income countries. In Ghana, breast cancer is believed to be the leading cause of cancer mortality in women and the rate of incidence is expected to rise, if awareness is not increased.
In light of this, Newmont Ghana’s Women and Allies (W&A) Network is joining the global community to mark this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month, observed in October each year. The group has launched its breast cancer awareness programs in Accra to intensify awareness, provide education and raise funds to support affected patients.
At the launch, Chair of the Accra Chapter of Women and Allies Network, Neringa Berzinskaite, expressed concern at the staggering statistics of women who have lost their lives due to lack of awareness about the disease. “Looking at the statistics of women getting diagnosed in late stages due to lack of awareness and education, we thought that we could make a positive impact by saving lives. This can significantly reduce the number of affected women who are isolated and left to die,” she said.
Madam Eva Boakye, a breast cancer survivor and advocate, shared her story of survival and resilience. Diagnosed with the disease after losing two cousins to breast cancer, Eva confronted her fear of seeking treatment to turn the tide and fight for her life. “Initially, I thought it was a death sentence, because I lost my cousins to breast cancer. However, early detection and constant treatment have made me survive today.” She urged women to regularly inspect their breasts and seek early treatment should they detect signs of the disease.
For Ama Bawuah, the Executive Patron for Women and Allies, Newmont Ghana, the loss of a close friend to breast cancer, after six months of late detection, remains one of her toughest life experiences. “Early detection is the key to surviving breast cancer and we should not wait till it is too late,” she said. “Let us also give moral support to family and friends who are diagnosed with breast cancer.” Ama advised that financial constraints should not be reason to lose a life because there are health-related organizations in Ghana that provide support to breast cancer patients. She appealed to management and staff of Newmont Ghana to donate generously in support of the Women and Allies efforts towards breast cancer awareness and prevention. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival.
Activities planned for the W&A Breast Cancer Awareness month include health screening exercises, small group discussions, awareness campaigns and a forum on the theme: Breast Cancer Awareness: A Shared Responsibility. The funds raised will be donated to Breast Care International, a non-governmental organization which specializes in the provision of breast health education, screening, counselling, advocacy, research, and treatment support. Members of the African Regional Leadership team, including the RSVP, Alwyn Pretorius, and staff present pledged financial support towards the month long campaign.
The Women and Allies (W&A) Business Resource Group is central to Newmont’s global Inclusion and Diversity strategy. W&A seeks to enhance the representation and contributions of women through professional development and by building a more inclusive workplace culture.