The Governor-General, His Excellency the Most Hon. Sir Patrick Allen, has lauded the Jamaica Cancer Society for its work in encouraging persons to get tested for cancer, in a bid to eliminate the disease as a major health challenge in Jamaica.
“I commend the members of the Jamaica Cancer Society for the exemplary work that they have done, over the years, to encourage our people to be tested for all types of cancers,” the Governor- General said in his address at the society’s annual Keeping Abreast luncheon, at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, Thursday (October 22).
He also commended the work of the Society’s mobile unit, which travels throughout rural parishes to facilitate access to testing for cancer in both men and women, and to spread the message of pursuing a healthy lifestyle.
The Head of State noted further that he was particularly inspired by the Society’s annual fundraising drive, ‘Relay for Life’.
“Each year, since its establishment in Jamaica in 2003, hundreds of Jamaicans gather at the Police Officers Club, Hope Road, Kingston, to bond with survivors and others, to lend their personal support to the effort to raise funds for cancer research and the delivery of the services provided by the Jamaica Cancer Society throughout Jamaica,” he noted.
Vice Chairman of the cancer society, Michael Fraser, reminded women of the importance of early detection in the fight against breast cancer, and encouraged them to do regular self examinations and mammograms, as well as to educate themselves about the various treatment options available.
“Breast cancer is one of the most common cancers among women in this country, and many women still associate breast cancer with a death sentence. That’s not so. The reality is that, early detection of the disease can lead to effective treatment and positive prognosis,” he noted.
He also revealed that it is estimated that eight out of 10 women with cancer are surviving beyond five years, and that survival rates are better the earlier cancer is diagnosed.
Mr. Fraser said that the luncheon not only increases awareness, but is also the Society’s way of bringing together survivors, friends, sponsors and well wishers in fellowship.
“This luncheon gives us an opportunity to witness the meaning of hope – hope that there can be a full and happy life, after breast cancer has been diagnosed,” he remarked.
The luncheon was sponsored by Pan Caribbean Financial Services Limited and American Airlines. It is part of activities that have been planned for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (October), which is being commemorated under the theme: ‘Early Detection, Your Best Defence in the Fight against Breast Cancer’.
“During the month, we highlight the significance of breast cancer, and the steps that should be taken to reduce the impact on our population,” Mr. Fraser said.
A non-profit, non-Governmental organisation formed in 1955, the Jamaica Cancer Society is charged with the mandate to “fight and defeat cancer in all its forms”. It engages in activities geared toward the prevention and control of cancer in Jamaica.