President of Breast Care International, Dr. Beatrice Wiafe Addai, is urging religious leaders to use the mass influence of faith to win the fight against cancer.
She also wants the clergy to encourage their congregation to seek medical treatment early when symptoms of the disease show instead of relying only on prayers.
Dr. Wiafe-Addai was speaking at event in Kumasi to climax this year’s world cancer day.
She says cancer cases across the world are expected to increase to 27.5 million by 2040, therefore, there is the need to intensify education.
Ghana records 22, 000 cases annually with breast and cervical cancer accounting for more than half of these cases.
Dr. Wiafe Addai describes cancer as a mortal enemy which requires intensified effort, especially, by religious groups to fight.
“Cancer has become our mortal enemy, wielding a deadly shield and spear that we need to disarm to ensure our survival,” she said.
The President of Breast Care International wants the church to leverage its influence to demand more action from government in the cancer fight.
“We must utilise the mass influence of religion in African society and forge alliances with our religious leaders to control cancer in Africa.”
Dr. Wiafe- Addai says religion is integral to African culture and that the respect people render to religious leaders force them to often first turn to them as a source of hope and guidance when diagnosed with cancer.
She says churches can leverage on its pervasive influence to educate and press government to do more for cancer diagnosis, treatment and prevention.
“We need religious bodies to commit more resources to fight against the deadly, but curable disease. We must dispel misinformation and reduce stigma together.”
Bishop of the Church of England, Dr. James Newcome, also spoke at the forum and encouraged women to seek medical treatment at the earliest possible signs instead of only relying on prayers.
Breast Care International has a model program with wives of ministries of some denominations by building relationships and educating them to leverage their positions in communities.
This is evidenced in over 800 survivors showcase at every outreach event to inspire public confidence about the high survival rate of patients.