More cancer awareness campaign should be done throughout the year

DPI, GUYANA, Monday, October 30, 2017

As cancer awareness month ends, Dr. Theophilus Lewis, United States-based, Oncologist Surgeon has underscored the fact that efforts promoting cancer awareness, particularly breast cancer, must be continued throughout the year.

Dr. Theophilus Lewis, United States-based Oncologist Surgeon attached to the Organisation for Social Health Advancement in Guyana (OSHAG).

In an interview with the Department of Public Information (DPI), the Oncologist Surgeon explained that persons need to be more cognizant of their bodies, especially when performing self-examination. He reiterated that, “They should not wait until it is breast cancer month to tell someone about their concerns. They definitely should not wait until it (a lump) becomes large that they are later diagnosed stage three or four breast cancer.”

Recent statistics regarding breast cancer in Guyana, indicate an increase of more than 300 new cases detected since 2010. Though in 2010, there were only 15 new reported cases, the number slowly mounted to 22 in 2011; then to 23 in 2013 and jumped alarmingly to 76 and 77 in 2014 and 2015 respectively.

However, the number of new reported cases dipped slightly to 41 in 2015. But there has been an average of six new cases each month for 2016, while 60 new cases were recorded at the Guyana Cancer Institute (GCI) during that time.

According to Dr. Lewis, prior to joining the Organization for Social Health Advancement in Guyana (OSHAG), he recognised that most of his patients examined were diagnosed with stage three or four breast cancer. This led to his commitment to OSHAG’s goal of reducing the breast cancer statistics through promotion of early detection and educating women about their bodies.

Last year, it was announced that the survival rate for patients at the Oncology Unit of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) increased significantly over the years due to the government and non-government support.

Despite the fight against breast cancer having a significant way to go, Dr. Lewis is optimistic that efforts made by the government and NGO’s to tackle the issue, in regard to sensitising and informing the public, and training medical personnel will be beneficial.

 

By: Neola Damon

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