Dr Adwoa Bemah Bonsu celebrates graduating with a PhD in Nursing.

PhD Study Focuses on Cancer Prevention

Dr Adwoa Bemah Bonsu was awarded a PhD in Nursing for her study that aimed to develop a hospital-based model to integrate breast cancer prevention and early detection.

Titled: Integration of Prevention into Cancer Palliative Care: A Case Study of Breast Cancer in a Tertiary Hospital, Ghana, the study was supervised by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor of the College of Health Sciences, Professor Busi Ncama.

‘My thesis focused on breast cancer prevention and early detection among women, especially first-degree relatives and micro-communities (friends, working colleagues, co-tenants, church members) of advanced breast cancer patients within the context of palliative care,’ explained Bonsu.

She added that breast cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in women in most low-and-middle-income countries including Ghana, where many women report with advanced stage disease and eventually die from the disease.

‘Hence the need to address the problem through stage shifting to increase the chances of survival through early detection,’ she said.

‘My study analysed the concepts that emerged from the experiences and views shared by women diagnosed with advanced breast cancer, their first-degree relatives and clinicians working in a palliative care clinic as well as the micro-communities of the patients to develop a hospital-based model that integrates breast cancer prevention and early detection into cancer palliative care,’ Bonsu said. ‘This may present a preventive and early detection approach to suffering as it is a definite purpose of palliative care.’

A registered nurse with 10 years’ clinical experience in Adult Health and Oncology, Bonsu obtained her BSc and MPhil in Nursing before embarking on doctoral studies. She lectures in the Nursing Department at Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana and also co-ordinates the postgraduate Nursing programme at the University.

‘I love teaching, reading and cooking. I know I am ambitious and a go-getter, however, I always thrive on God’s strength and special favour as well as the willpower to succeed,’ she said.

Bonsu is married with two children, ‘My family feels great about my achievements! They are very proud,’ she added.

Words: Nombuso Dlamini

Photograph: Rajesh Jantilal