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Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr. the Hon. Christopher Tufton, says the Government has made strides in preventing cancer-related deaths.

In his message for World Cancer Day 2022, being observed today (February 4), under the theme ‘Close The Care Gap/Realising the Problem’, the Minister said it is an occasion for “each of us” to take action where preventable cancer deaths are avoided.

The Minister added that cancer patients and caregivers have access to “first-class care, affordable drugs and counselling support”, available from the Ministry and various agencies.

“We are especially proud of the strides we have made in the modernisation of the public health infrastructure in Jamaica. Such strides have helped in closing the care gap, as more Jamaicans can now access world-class cancer treatment, with the establishment of two National Cancer Treatment Centres,” the Minister said.

One of the treatment centres is located on the compound of the St. Joseph’s Hospital in St. Andrew, and the other at the Cornwall Regional Hospital in Montego Bay, St. James. The state-of-the-art facilities are equipped with modern linear accelerators.

The Minister also used the occasion to laud cancer survivors, noting that their “resilience is admirable”.

“This year, we want to shine a light on family members and friends who are primary caregivers,” he said.

“We recognise that giving care to loved ones, watching them go through so much that we have very little control over can be challenging, heart-breaking, and very often, caregivers put their own needs and feelings aside to focus on the person with cancer,” Dr. Tufton said.

He further added that stress can have “overwhelming effects”, both physically and emotionally, and caregivers should visit the Ministry’s website to learn about the different types of emotional- and mental-health support offered for persons who need it.

Expressing gratitude to researchers and healthcare professionals, Minister Tufton said despite the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, they have dedicated themselves to improving the lives of “those touched by cancer, always committed to delivering evidence-based practice in diagnosis, intervention and support.”

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