Public Health Ministry unveils 5-year plan to tackle cancer

─ Min. Lawrence envisions adding one mammography machine to the system annually

─ free radiation treatment, specialised facilities to treat all cancers part of the 5-year plan

─ highlighted at GTT’s Breast cancer Symposium

DPI, Guyana, Tuesday, October 1, 2019

The Ministry of Public Health is taking the lead in ensuring all cancer patients are treated effectively and efficiently. This is being done as the ministry is embarking on preventative measures which will reduce the prevalence of cancers in Guyana.

Further, it will be done through strategic interventions, preventative measures and treatment which are already in place.

As breast cancer awareness month is being observed, the Ministry of Public Health is ensuring the information on all cancers are spotlighted.

Minister of Public Health, Hon. Volda Lawrence, during a video presentation at GTT’s first symposium on Cancer Care, on Tuesday, said that it is her wish to see all persons in Guyana having unrestricted access to cancer treatment and prevention services. She also noted the importance of being educated on the availability of drugs and treatment measures and how persons can play their part in adjusting the statistics.

According to Minister Lawrence, over the next five years, at least one mammography will be purchased annually and placed at different health facilities. This will ensure that women countrywide can have their annual mammograms done. These will add to the current machine at the Georgetown Public Hospital.

In addition to this, she said, “I am now working to ensure that two other things happen. One, that we can provide free radiation treatment for which people have been paying astronomical amounts. Therefore, I am working with several concerned Guyanese and the University of Calgary in bringing this service to the public health system. Over the next five years, we will be working to ensure that we can have a specialised health facility that looks at all types of cancers.”

According to PAHO/WHO, breast cancer kills half a million women globally every year. Fifty per cent of those cases come from developing countries such as Guyana. PAHO/WHO’ s country Representative, Dr. William Adu-Krow said it is important to determine what are the underlying causes for more women developing and succumbing to cancers.

“In Latin America and the Caribbean, a great proportion of breast cancer deaths occur in women under 65 as compared to the developed countries where a great proportion rather occurs in women over 65 years, so we have got to find out why… Now in Guyana, breast cancer is the number one overall,” Dr. Adu-Krow said.

In this regard, it was noted that the first step to being cancer-free is to adopt a healthy lifestyle by avoiding cigarette smoke, excess alcohol consumption, unhealthy diets and physical inactivity.

GTT’s Cancer Care symposium saw concerned stakeholders from all across Guyana health sector attending the event. This kicks off the month of activities which mainly surrounds public awareness and advocacy in the fight against breast cancer.

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