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Bright Philip Donkor writes: A healthy breast is a nation booster

Life garnishes our time on earth with amazing people and women are undeniably no exception. Women are the real architects of society. They collaborate in efforts with men to nurture and groom children. A woman after going through the average period of nine months and even in some cases more produces an offspring, becomes a mother and plays the role of a friend and a wife. The complications helter skelter are better experienced than imagined.

Call it womanhood and reproduction but put premium on the value that women especially mothers have towards their children. For a baby, the mother is just like a rare breed of sweet wine whose taste still lingers in the mouth and still makes the taste buds wanting more. Women are major stakeholders in the growing process of a child and that makes them indispensable.

I can wholeheartedly confess that the breast was instrumental in my upbringing. Its absence could be likened to depriving me the oxygen I needed to exist; uncontrollable cries until I'm given those boobs. Growing up, my mum told me that in some cases I had to pursue her in the name of breast. Indeed, it was my source of food, drink and life until I got weaned.

The breast forms an essential component of a woman's body. Its use and importance is unlimited to only the bearer, the woman, but also to the society as a whole. A publication by National Centre for Biotechnological Information (NCBI) emphasized the breasts as "the most important external identification of femininity". This to a large extent, throws more light on the relevance women attach to a part of their body that's of such great importance to them.

Once again, the month of October is here and globally it has been declared Breast Cancer Awareness Month (BCAM). Women all over the world are being encouraged to listen to their bodies, do self-examination and get screened to minimise the unnecessary loss of lives to breast cancer. In Ghana, various activities will be organized to draw attention to the disease, which continues to take a toll on women. It's heart wrenching to learn that the disease is on the increase despite so much awareness creation on breast cancer. Older women are not the only susceptible ones, the young ones are too and in some cases some men.

Many diseases can affect the breast and the most perilous of these is breast cancer. It still remains a headache that a deadly disease which experts have drawn and continue to draw attention to is being ignored. In recent developments, an estimation of nearly 1.7 million new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed with a further estimated 530,000 deaths occurring around the world.

According to the Breast Care International (BCI), about 60% of Ghanaian women who are diagnosed with breast cancer are usually found in the stages of the disease due especially to low awareness, resulting in limited treatment success and high death rate. In the midst of the global pandemic, BCI has announced the innovative ways it will hold 2020 breast cancer month as Covid-19 still lingers.

Apart from the breast's physical function and usage to humanity, it also signifies completeness and patience. Completeness in the sense that, it provides nutritious food to its young ones. There's no denying the fact that, no food is as nutritious and hygienic as the milk produced by the breast; its uniqueness and fortification cannot be replicated in any form. Thus, the entire world is built on a foundation of total nutrition, courtesy of the breast.

Having said that, during the development stages of the breast, premium and teaching is given to patience and orderliness. It takes time to develop in size and shape, and has its specific time to produce milk. I believe that, these two important values cannot be underestimated. Complete health for the world and patience in realising its cherished growth needs.  

It is therefore, necessary to incessantly blow the horn on the need to protect and save the lives of women because of the staggering statistics regarding the rate at which the menace of breast cancer is threatening the lives of women and some men alike.

The loss of a breast can have devastating psychological consequences on a woman. A woman who has lost a breast through cancer may feel self-conscious, insecure, inferior to other women, or undesirable to men. The depth of psychological trauma that women experience when they suffer breast cancer is worrying.

It is every girl's dream to grow, having her breast properly positioned to the serve purpose of which it was created. Based on this, anything that seems to put this dream in jeopardy puts our women in a devastating and an uncomfortable state. In a situation where the human sex ratio is seen to be par, it is only fair and important that the entire world pays keen attention to the menace of breast cancer on the lives of women. We cannot live in a world where almost half of the population feels psychologically defeated, and yet the whole population is unaffected. Can we?

The roles of women have undergone massive evolution as far as working to contribute to the finances of the home is concerned. Women have escaped the dominating and domineering clutches of men. Some women double as bread winners and play the traditional role of a woman alongside. For these reasons, every society needs women who are physically and psychologically healthy to contribute significantly to socio-economic growth and development. Thus, we need a society that's emancipated and disentangled from the shackles of breast cancer to experience and witness accelerated improvement and development.

The health of the woman hinges on every aspect of the growth of the nation. The economy will be found struggling, if you take away the massive strides of women working class to the economy. Take away the motherly role of the woman in the home, and men and fathers have no peace of mind to do anything.

The motherly role of women and their responsibility to their children produces a nation of healthy people. The reason being that, a society will produce a generation of unhealthy people if the future leaders did not get the right balanced diet at a time they needed most. Since productivity of a nation is dependent on the health of the workforce, it's just reasonable that sound bodies are taken care of.

Every nation thrives when it's built on a solid foundation; one made of women in good health and untroubled by the fright of the breast cancer disease. Let's strengthen the foundation and the structure will surmount all hurdles. When our women are protected against this menace, and are well supported in difficult times, a congenial and conducive atmosphere will be created for prosperity to take place. What does the world do to a partner in difficult times?

Men and women are encouraged to perform breast self-checks every month. Early detection to improve breast cancer outcome and survival, however, remains key to breast cancer control, even though risk reduction could be achieved with prevention. The two known methods of early detection methods are early diagnosis or awareness of early signs and symptoms in symptomatic populations, and screening, which is the systematic application of a screening test in a presumably asymptomatic population.

When we save a woman today, we save a whole generation tomorrow. We have to place more value on our women and make a commitment to help anytime they need one. I think both parties have to learn about this cancer so we can jointly handle and care for the breast of our mothers, children, daughters, sisters, wives, girlfriends and ourselves.

In the midst of such plentiful awareness, no woman should die of breast cancer. Screening is necessary now than later, for procrastination is always a thief of time and a stitch in time saves nine. A healthy breast is a nation booster. Breast cancer is real. Don't be a victim.

The author, Bright Philip Donkor is the CSA'20 Online Journalist of the Year; Social Commentator, Gender Activist, Columnist and a Prolific Feature Writer.

Email - bpdonkor@gmail.com

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