Background and Context:
Breast cancer is the leading malignancy in Ghana among women with over 60% reporting late. In addition to profound emotional and physical effects of the disease, breast cancer can present significant social, financial, and logistical challenges for patients and their families contributing to patient’s fear and frustration and may affect their timely access to care. In Ghana, finding one’s way through the healthcare system and knowing what support and services available can be challenging for breast cancer patients who have to make major life decisions around limited resources. While coping with the shock of a cancer diagnosis, patients are expected to negotiate a complicated series of tests, meet appointments, and follow treatment regimens. It is critical that newly diagnosed patients be informed about the disease, its implications, and how treatment experience may be coordinated between different service providers. As supportive care is increasingly been recognized as an integral part of quality cancer treatment, little is known about any existing services for breast cancer patients in Ghana.
To provide support for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients by breast cancer survivors previously diagnosed and treated at Peace and Love Hospital to improve care and quality of life of breast cancer survivors.
Using a combination of breast cancer survivors and nurses trained in oncology living in the same communities, newly diagnosed breast cancer patients are guided towards achieving quality health outcomes within culturally appropriate context.
Breast Care International in collaboration with Carrie's TOUCH, USA has created an integrated Peer–Nurse Navigation program based on Helping Others through Personal Experiences (HOPE).
Outcomes/What was learned: In three months (August - October 2013), program registered 12 patients. Age range (26-74). Frequently complaints include financial challenges, husband deserted family, chemotherapy side effects, and fear of dying.