JIS News

The Jamaica Cancer Society is inviting members of the medical fraternity to attend and support the inaugural staging of its Cervical Cancer Medical Symposium on Sunday, April 28, in honour of Dr. Joseph St. Elmo Hall.

The forum, which forms part of activities to mark Cancer Awareness Month in April, will be held in the Basic Medical Sciences Building on the grounds of the University of the West Indies, in St. Andrew. It will get underway at 9:00 a.m.

Fundraising and Public Relations Officer at the Society, Shullian Brown, said the symposium “is being held as part of the Cancer Society’s public education campaign to provide information of new and emerging trends in the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of cervical cancer.”

Ms. Brown noted that the symposium is being held to honour Dr. Hall, who has been a member of the Cancer Society since 1968 when he was appointed Lecturer in the Obstetrics and Gynaecology Department at the University of the West Indies.

She added that the first colposcopy machine was introduced to Jamaica by Dr. Hall in 1978, and that he undertook a national two-year Pap Smear Programme, opening access at public health clinics to such services, and this intervention resulted in over 12,000 pap smears being taken.

Dr. Hall, retired Consultant Obstetrician Gynaecologist, said that cervical cancer is often considered a preventable disease because of the nature of its development.

Citing the importance of the pap smear screening test, Dr. Hall noted that the presence or absence of precancerous legions, also known as cervical intraepithelial neoplasia, is usually identified during the test. The legions, he said, has the potential to become cancerous if they are not removed in a timely manner.

Importantly, Dr. Hall informed that Jamaica has a very high incidence rate for cervical cancer, when compared to the United States and European countries, with 27.5 per 100,000 women being affected.

The keynote speaker at the symposium will be Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the Universidad Francisco Marroquin, Guatemala, David Prado.

There will be presentations on a number of topics including: Current Status of Cervical Cancer by a representative of the Ministry of Health; the Current Incidence and Mortality rate of Cervical Cancer by the Cancer Society; Screening Update and Prevention of Cervical Cancer by Dr. Sharmaine Mitchell; Management of Cervical Pre-Cancer by Dr. Michael Abrahams; Treatment of Invasive Cervical Cancer by Dr. Matthew Taylor and Radiation Therapy by Dr. Dingle Spence.

Doctors attending the conference are required to pay a fee of $2,000; nurses, $1,500 and students with identification will pay $1,000.

Continuing medical education (CME) credits will be awarded, where applicable, to medical practitioners, who attend the symposium.

By Toni-Ann Rankine, JIS Reporter

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