JIS News

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) is shining the spotlight on the risk factors of colon cancer as Jamaica joins the global observation of March as Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month.

NCD Risk Factor Programme Development Officer in the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) and Injury Prevention Unit, Ministry of Health and Wellness, Dr. Cathi-Ann Williams, told JIS News that the aim is to stress the importance of nutrition for colon health and to explain the primary screening test for colorectal cancer, which is the Faecal Occult Test.

The month began with a message from Minister of Health and Wellness (MOHW), Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, on colorectal cancer awareness, imploring Jamaicans to talk to family and friends about getting screened.

The ministry will be staging a series of activities throughout the month, including a special Facebook Live conversation on the Ministry of Health’s Facebook page on March 23 at 6:30 p.m., entitled ‘What’s Your Gut Telling You’.

The event will feature presentations from Consultant-General Surgeon, Surgical Oncology and Hepatobiliary Surgeon, Dr. Patrick Roberts, as well as Training and Education Nutritionist at the MOHW, Dr. Sharon Dawson, who will speak to healthy eating habits within the context of the risk factors.

Dr. Williams added that there will be media engagements in print, radio, television and on social media in collaboration with partners the Rural Agricultural Development Authority (RADA), Mello TV and Fontana Pharmacy.

There will be weekly radio programmes, which will include spot prizes of fruits and vegetables from RADA. The first will be held on RJR 94FM during the afternoon programme on Friday (March 4) and will move to other radio stations during the month.

“We hope to spread that message specifically about screening for colorectal cancer and risk factors for colorectal cancer, so that our population can be informed, be aware of … their family history, for example, and a healthy diet that can be applied to their lives… to [help] prevent colorectal cancer” Dr. Williams said.

The activities also include a new feature on colorectal cancer awareness during Health Talk on TVJ’s Prime Time News.

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