MoH, GTT partnering again in battle against cancer

− hosting awareness campaign on social media

The Ministry of Health is again partnering with the Guyana Telephone Telegraph (GTT) this year, to increase awareness about cancer prevention.

This year’s campaign is being held under the theme #liveaware.

Minister of Health, Hon. Dr. Frank Anthony lauded the collaboration between the Ministry and the company, explaining that GTT’s Pinktober campaign illustrates the positive impact that private sector involvement can have on public health.

“The Ministry of Health values this collaboration as we work together to educate, screen and prevent cancer in our communities, while providing the best treatment and support for those affected,” the Minister said.

Meanwhile, Chronic Disease Unit Co-ordinator, Dr. Kavita Singh said virtual sensitisation activities will be done throughout the month, virtually.

“We are slated to appear on numerous TV, radio and social media platforms, making use of GTT’s and the Ministry’s website, posting educational information and updates on our activities.”

Dr. Singh added this year’s awareness activities will intensify as cancer survivors and those who are battling the disease are particularly vulnerable to infection, including COVID-19. She is encouraging the public to safeguard their health by adhering to the safety protocols publicised and by eating a balanced diet and practising good hygiene. She also advised persons to reduce their risk of cancer and other infection by lessening tobacco and alcohol use.

Dr. Singh is also encouraging the parents to have their nine-year-old daughters vaccinated against HPV (human papillomavirus). Further, she said, women between 25 and 49 years should have a visual inspection with acetic acid (VIA) screening and all women and men should do breast self-examinations. Men should also undergo prostate cancer screening as often as recommended.

These are all simple steps that can be implemented to safeguard health and detect early any instance of any of the main and most deadly cancers in Guyana, which are breast, cervical, prostate and lung cancer. Together, these cancers contribute to a large number of deaths annually.

The World Health Organization’s cancer profile on Guyana reveal 751 new cancer cases detected with 471 deaths in 2018. The data captured in 2018 showed an alarming incidence and mortality rates for each type of cancer, given the country’s small population. The term “incidence” refers to the occurrence of new cases of a disease in a population while mortality speaks to death rate of those infected, WHO said.

In Guyana, the incidence for breast cancer is 22.6 per cent with a mortality rate of 11 per cent. Cervical cancer has an incidence of 16.5 per cent and a mortality 13.6 per cent while prostate cancer has a 15.6 per cent incidence rate and an 8.9 per cent mortality rate. Cancers are a part of a bigger group of diseases referred to as non-communicable diseases which account for 70 per cent of most premature and overall deaths in Guyana and even globally. Cancers are the second leading cause of deaths globally after cardiovascular diseases.