Westmoreland-based MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation will spearhead several teleconferences to highlight statistics and trends relating to cancer in the parish.
These will be streamed on various social media platforms during the second Wednesday of each month from August to December, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.
Speaking at a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) ‘Think Tank’ at the agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, on July 31, the Foundation’s Chairman, Dorothy Satchwell, indicated that each month the teleconference will focus on one or two of the most common types of cancers locally.
“During the month of August, we are looking at cancer in general, particularly on the high mortality rate of cancer we have in Westmoreland over the last 14 years,” said Ms. Satchwell.
“For the month of September, which is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, we are going to be looking specifically at prostate cancer, which is the highest recurring cancer that we have been having in terms of mortality. For October, we will be looking at breast cancer.
November is pancreatic and lung cancer month [and] in December, we will be looking at colon, ovarian and cervical cancer,” she added.
Ms. Satchwell, a breast cancer survivor, said the forums will feature a range of specialists in areas such as oncology, urology and epidemiology.
She explained that with the coming together of stakeholders in cancer prevention and care, as well as members of the public, she hopes that there will be a renewed focus on the impact of the diseases on the lives of cancer patients, including those who care for them.
In addition, she noted that from the teleconferences, they plan to submit a recommendation document to the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
“So, what we are doing is to target persons within the general populace in terms of medical doctors, nurses, dietitians, midwives and other persons, who we are hoping will tap into the discussions and make recommendations as to how we can move forward,” Ms. Satchwell said.
She emphasised that Jamaicans need to start taking responsibility for their health, in order to reduce the death rate from cancer locally.
“In 2017, Jamaica had 17,209 persons who died from cancer, and for a small country like Jamaica, that is huge. For a parish like Westmoreland, you have in one year 1,200 persons dying from cancer, and it is huge. It can’t be who is going to be next, but what can I do so that I am not the next one. We have to start taking responsibility,” she said.
“So, I would really encourage persons to take part in the teleconference, because this is an opportunity that is being given to you, so that you can have a say in how you think or how you want to be treated, should you or any of your family have cancer,” she added.
The events will be streamed on Zoom, MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as JIS’s YouTube and Facebook pages.