October is International Breast Cancer Awareness month and the Ministry of Public Health will be promoting early detection so as to better treat cases of breast cancer. A number of screening and awareness activities will be done countrywide during the month. The theme for this year is, “I have hope.”
The Ministry of Public Health in collaboration with the Cancer Institute of Guyana will conduct screening to identify potential breast cancer cases.
Dr. Latoya Gooding – Medical Officer, Oncology Department, Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation
According to Medical Officer at the Oncology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), Dr. Latoya Gooding, screening is necessary if breast cancer is to be detected in the early stages.
“Last year alone we had 125 cases of breast cancer. This year, up to today, we have about 92. The Ministry of Public Health we are trying a different approach. We are trying to do more screening, more breast cancer awareness so that persons if you are diagnosed with it, it will be in the early stage.” Dr. Gooding explained.
She said that the ministry is exploring better treatment methods and pharmaceuticals that will make breast cancer treatment process and recovery more efficient.
According to Dr. Gooding, a number of outreaches are planned. “We plan on targeting the four main regions that is, Linden, Berbice, Essequibo and right here in Georgetown.”
On October 9, there will be an outreach in Linden and on the Linden Highway at Kuru Kururu. On October 16 they will be at Port Mourant, Berbice. On October 23 they will be at Charity, Essequibo and on October 30 at the Georgetown Public Hospital.
Since the outreaches are spread across the country, they are aimed at targeting more women for breast and cervical cancer screening and also to screen men for prostate cancer.
While there is a target group for these outreaches, there are a number of risk factors that will be taken into consideration for screening for breast cancer.
“Just being a woman makes you, puts you at a higher risk. However, men also be affected with it. Women of higher age group 45 and above are at risk of breast cancer. Women that have only two children and less are at a higher risk, women that have a first line family member with breast cancer that increases their risks as well. Also, if you have your period before 12 years of age or if you have menopause after 55 years,” Dr. Gooding said as she explained the high risk factors.
Other activities scheduled in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month include, a ‘look good, feel good’ event at the GPHC for women diagnosed with breast cancer. This will be held on October 26 and 27. There will be a candle light vigil at Parliament Building on October 28. This is being organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Social Protection.
A breast cancer awareness walk is organized for October 29 and it will be hosted by the Ministry of Public Health, Ministry of Social Protection, GPHC, Perriwinkle Club and other key stakeholders.
The launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month of activities is scheduled for Saturday, October 1 at the Presidential Park, Merriman’s Mall.