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Breast Cancer Message

Minister of Health The Hon. Mark Scotland,J.P.

Remarks by Minister of Health, the Hon. Mark Scotland

Good afternoon everyone.

A few decades ago breast cancer was not a significant public health concern in Latin America and the Caribbean. However - and ironically so - with socio-economic advances, the prevalence of breast cancer has also increased, reaching a point where people should start taking note.

Even more compelling is the fact that our region does not yet share the positive global trend of increasing survival rates. This encouraging development is thought to be the result of improved treatment and detection - exactly the two aspects in which Caribbean countries were found to be lacking in a 2002 PAHO study.

As a region, our mortality rates are high primarily because of inadequate screening and treatment management, according to the report. And even today it is evident that much work remains to be done.

Fortunately for Cayman, and specifically for the Ministry of Health, we are privileged to have the support of dedicated groups of volunteers such you Lions Club of Tropical Gardens stalwarts. By increasing women's access to frequent screening, you are definitely in the vanguard of the effort to tackle one of our region's key concerns.

But I hope that your - and others' - help will not end there. As with almost every complex health issue, there is always more to be done, such as strengthening local surveillance of all cancers.

To this end my ministry has been working with the Health Services Authority, the Public Health Department and the Cancer Society to establish a local cancer registry. And I hope that your organization will also become involved in this endeavour.

Providing cancer patients and their doctors with current information and statistics will help them select the best treatment options. Furthermore, pointing to environmental risk factors and high risk behaviours unique to our population will also help health professionals and volunteers focus their efforts on meaningful prevention strategies.

Another area that can never have too many hands on deck is raising awareness. Let us not assume that everyone knows about breast cancer,how to detect it and how to minimize risk factors.

As we mark the start of the 2010 Breast Cancer Awareness Month today, breast cancer remains the most common cancer in all women. Clearly there is still much left to learn, understand and do, but I am thankful that we are working to reduce the problems together.

Breast cancer is indeed a powerful adversary, but it can never defeat compassion. And so I commend the Lions Club for continuously highlighting this important medical issue and for supporting patients and their families. I also thank other campaign partners for their valuable assistance.

We welcome your efforts and hope to continue our purposeful partnership for years to come.

For further information contact: Cornelia Oliver