JIS News

Chairman of the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS), Earl Jarrett is calling for increased dialogue on reducing the high cost of treatment for persons with breast cancer.
Speaking at the launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month at the Hilton Hotel on September 29, the Chairman said the government needed to find more ways to lower the cost of drugs to treat the disease.
Mr. Jarrett said at present, the cost to treat the disease was “not easy for any household”, and that the cost of treatment could possibly be between $10,000 and $15,000 a month and this was of significant concern to Jamaican women.
He stressed that developing countries should urge wealthier nations to place the development of cheaper drugs for breast cancer on their agenda. These countries he said, were pushing pharmaceutical companies to develop cheaper HIV/AIDS drugs for affected persons in Africa.
“I think we should call for a substantial reduction, that whether it is at the state level or at the pharmaceutical company level, an effort is made to address the fact that the cost of breast cancer treatment in developing countries like ours, is extremely expensive,” he said.
“Many women will make the choice to pay the school fee for their children and to do half the treatment to make sure that the child goes to school.we have to find a way to reduce the cost,” the Chairman stressed.In the meantime, Mr. Jarrett said that the JCS was pleased that the National Health Fund registered some of the drugs for breast cancer treatment for specific subsidy.
For its part, the JCS was in the process of working with the Kingston Public Hospital to improve the Radiotherapy Unit, which he said needed attention. “The Radiotherapy Unit at the KPH needs some work.it has served us well and long, but substantial work needs to be done to improve the equipment and the tools that are there,” he noted.
October has been designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. During the month there is a major drive by the JCS to promote awareness of issues of treatment, treatment costs and treatment facilities. Most importantly, there is an effort to heighten awareness of the fact that breast cancer is not a terminal experience, by showcasing the lives of breast cancer survivors.
New on the calendar of activities for the month are: Aerobics in Emancipation Park on Tuesdays and Thursdays (except October 20) from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.; Ride 4 Life from Kingston to Negril, organised by Jamaica Cycling Federation for October 15; and an expansion of the L’Oreal Survivor Makeover series to include Mandeville on October 11 and Ocho Rios on October 12. Additional makeovers will be available at a number of beauty salons and institutions across the island, which are part of the National Association of Hairdressers and Cosmetologists.