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New Specialty Hospital Dedicated in Ghana is Key Component of Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)'s Debut in Africa
Date:10/17/2008

African Nation's President Cites Collaboration Behind New Resource

KUMASI, Ghana, Oct. 17 /PRNewswire/ -- Ghana President John Kufuor today dedicated the city's new hopeXchange Medical Center, a high quality diagnostic and treatment facility with special focus on breast cancer. During the ceremony, President Kufuor welcomed a high-profile mission delegation organized and led by Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)'s President and CEO Hala Moddelmog, and acknowledged the significant role that Komen for the Cure can play in advancing the fight against breast cancer in Africa.

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Moddelmog was joined by physicians, researchers, advocates, survivors and celebrities, including actress Gabrielle Union, philanthropist Malaak Rock, wife of comedian Chris Rock, and breast cancer survivor and activist Billye Aaron, the wife of baseball great Hank Aaron. The delegation is spending four meeting- and event-packed days in Africa, where it will wind up this first-ever trip to the continent with a stop in Tanzania to cheer on participants in the first Tanzania Race for the Cure(R) organized by the Tanzania Breast Cancer Foundation in collaboration with Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

"In addition to awareness about early detection, access to a state-of-the-art treatment facility is critical to addressing the very high breast cancer mortality rate in Ghana," said Moddelmog. "Susan G. Komen for the Cure is deeply committed to supporting hopeXchange Medical Center through collaboration with local and international breast cancer experts, Ghanaian government officials and non-governmental organizations."

The hopeXchange Medical Center will offer accessible and affordable breast health services, and house an interactive Learning Laboratory of the Breast Health Global Initiative (BHGI), where doctors and scientists share critical information and offer continuing medical education courses to healthcare providers in Ghana.

Early Detection Remains Key

Funding by Komen for the Cure's Global Promise Fund will allow for planning and implementation of a regional breast cancer awareness and education campaign, the first and most important step in curbing the high breast cancer mortality rate, and will facilitate the launch of the Ghana Breast Cancer Alliance.

"Doctors, health workers, breast cancer advocates and survivors are the key to increasing the Ghanaian people's confidence in surviving breast cancer when it is discovered early," added Moddelmog.

BHGI's mission is to develop, implement and study evidence-based, economically feasible and culturally appropriate guidelines for International Breast Health and Control in low- and middle-income countries. BHGI is co-founded and co-sponsored by Komen and the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.

Ghana: Combating Breast Cancer Social Stigma

Nearly 70 percent of women in Ghana diagnosed with breast cancer who seek help have advanced forms of the disease, which are harder to treat and survive. Social stigma surrounding breast cancer forces many Ghanaian women to keep their symptoms secret. Many die without receiving any treatment at all.

Komen's global expansion efforts target parts of the world where high breast cancer incidence and mortality rates exist, and where political and economic stability, along with an attitude of readiness for change exist. Ghana is an example of a low- to middle-income country that is poised to work with Komen to improve the breast health of its citizens.

"With the right mix of resources, communication and collaboration, countries like Ghana can put in place the systems that are necessary to prevent the needless breast cancer deaths of thousands of women," said Dr. Ben O. Anderson, M.D., chair and director of BHGI.

BHGI will work closely with hopeXchange and high-level Ghanaian governmental and health officials, to help create a center that provides breast health learning experiences in keeping with Ghana's unique cultural, economic and political realities.

The Lab: Learning, Collaborating, Tracking Data

Learning Laboratory Kumasi Hope is BHGI's first such installation. Its main component will be curriculum development for the breast cancer continuing education needs of Ghanaian medical personnel. The curriculum will be developed through the laboratory with Dr. Anderson leading an international multi-disciplinary team including local health officials to develop, apply and test curricula based upon the published BHGI "Guidelines for International Breast Health and Cancer Control Implementation." This expert team will teach breast health care and breast cancer biology, and discuss ways to overcome real-world resource limitations that exist in Ghana and other low- and middle-income countries.

In a planned second phase of activities, the Learning Laboratory will work with civil authorities to study and implement a citywide hospital-based breast cancer registry in Kumasi, with the full direction, collaboration and approval of the Ghana Ministry of Health.

Cancer registration has a pivotal role in cancer control strategies. According to the 2006 report on cancer registration in Ghana by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), Kumasi is one of only two geographical areas in Ghana where a population-based or hospital-based cancer registry could be effectively established, due to the availability of appropriate cancer diagnosis and management facilities.

About Susan G. Komen for the Cure(R)

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(R), we have invested more than $1.2 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world. For more information about Susan G. Komen for the Cure, breast health or breast cancer, visit http://www.komen.org or call 1-877 GO KOMEN.

About hopeXchange Medical Center

HopeXchange Medical Center, a new 80-bed specialty hospital facility, will serve as a regional hub for the delivery of high quality healthcare services and training in five specific areas: women's cancers, HIV, malaria, facial malformations and ophthalmology. The Center will offer continuing medical education, tailored to the resources available in the Ghanaian health care system and to the specific needs of the Ghanaian healthcare providers. Initial patient services such as the breast cancer diagnostic and treatment facility will commence in the spring of 2009. HopeXchange Medical Center is located on 6.15 acres of land donated by the Catholic Diocese of Kumasi, Ghana.


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SOURCE Susan G. Komen for the Cure
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