By Olivia Grange
BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH
OCTOBER is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which gives us the opportunity to raise awareness of this deadly disease, and to support those who have been diagnosed or affected. It is estimated that over one million women worldwide will be diagnosed with breast cancer, which is second only to lung cancer as the most diagnosed form of cancer, and is one of the leading causes of death among women. It is the most prevalent type of cancer in Jamaican women and is responsible for about 18 per cent of deaths in Jamaican women each year.
Sadly, we all know someone — a mother, a sister, a friend, a neighbour — who has been afflicted with breast cancer. In fact, the circle grows larger everyday with friends, families and loved ones who are stricken by breast cancer.
Even though we do not yet know how to prevent or cure breast cancer, we do know how to fight it. It is known that mammography detects 90 to 95 per cent of all breast cancers.
It is paramount that we women arm ourselves with the knowledge and understanding and put aside our fears about being diagnosed. But we must also remember that breast cancer is not limited to women.
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, 1,600 men will be diagnosed with breast cancer this year. Every man should wear pink when it comes to supporting the fight against breast cancer.
The Government of Jamaica continues to support initiatives and programmes that promote cancer prevention and control.
I wish to commend the Jamaica Cancer Society, the Bureau of Women’s Affairs and all other organisations that continue to work in educating and empowering people diagnosed and affected by breast cancer.
Worldwide, people are being encouraged to become a ‘Breast Friend’. A Breast Friend is anyone who not only sees to his or her own breast health but shares the importance of regular screening. By simply wearing a pink ribbon we each can show our support.
I encourage all Jamaicans to participate in this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month activities.
God bless you, and may you keep good health.