Mrs Angela Opong-Yeboah, the Principal Nursing Officer of the 37 Military Hospital, Wednesday, urged Ghanaians, especially women, to be cautious of using deodorants with antiperspirants chemicals as it has been identified as a risk factor of breast cancer.
She said deodorants and roll-ons usually helped control odour but those with antiperspirant substances, especially aluminium-based compounds, temporarily plugged the sweat ducts and prevented the natural flow of perspiration.
Mrs Opong-Yeboah, speaking in an interview with the Ghana News Agency (GNA) on the patronage of the month-long Breast Cancer Awareness Campaign at the Hospital and related development.
She said it would be prudent for people not to use such products to reduce their chances of getting the disease; though the causes of breast cancer were still unknown.
She said it was very important to be cautious as more men were now being diagnosed.
Scientists who believe that antiperspirants may cause the disease attribute it to the fact that most breast cancers develop in the upper outer part of the breast, the area closest the armpit.
They believe that the chemicals are absorbed into the skin, especially when there are cuts during shaving. They also opine that cancerous cells may develop when the chemicals interact with the DNA of the user; or interfere with the action of estrogen, known to influence the growth of breast cancer cells.
The month of October has been globally adopted to help improve awareness of the breast cancer disease.
It features several activities, including free breast screening services, sharing of leaflets and media discussions on the disease.
The Principal Nursing Officer noted that people were gradually responding positively to breast cancer awareness initiatives, saying that the Hospital had screened 203 women, with 22 having lumps in their breasts since they started the campaign. The clinics are held on Wednesdays.
She said out of the 22, two were suspected to be breast cancers and they were undergoing treatment.
Mrs Ama Appiah, the Nurse in-Charge of Breast Screening, said there were enormous risk factors such as obesity, exposure to too much radiation, wearing of tight brassieres and excessive exposure of the breasts.
She urged the public to exercise regularly, eat more fruits and vegetables and live good healthy lifestyles.
She advised that ladies to do self-breast examination regularly every five to seven days after their menstruation to enable them know when there was a change for early reporting.
She explained that during menstruation there were hormonal changes in the female so it was advisable to carry out the exam five or seven days afterwards.
However, for women in their menopause, one day in every month should be taken to carry out the examination.
Mrs Appiah said breast cancer could be treated when detected early and urged people to do away with the misperception of automatically dying when diagnosed or have had a breast surgery.
By: Samira Larbie / Grace Princess Tarwo, GNA