On World Cancer Day, 4 February 2020, the Health Services Authority (HSA) will host a public forum exploring the current status of cancer in Cayman, more specifically at the HSA, and sharing actionable advice on how each person can play their part in the fight against cancer.
Taking place under the theme of ‘Cancer in Cayman: Together we will fight’, the event aims to inspire and encourage action from individuals, the health community, businesses and governments to improve public awareness and access to early detection, screening, diagnosis, treatment and promote research through the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry (CICR). It will be held at the Cayman Islands Hospital Hibiscus Conference Room at 5:30pm – 7pm. The HSA will also light up the Cayman Islands Hospital in lavender, the awareness colour for all cancers, to commemorate the annual observance.
HSA Oncologist-Haematologist Dr Lundie Richards said, “This World Cancer Day, we want people to know that many cancers can be managed effectively, especially if they’re detected and treated as early as possible. But we all have a responsibility and need to play our part in order to reduce the burden that this disease has inflicted on our families, our country and our world.”
“We also want cancer patients and survivors to be assured that their care is of priority to the healthcare organisations in the Cayman Islands by highlighting the collaborative and interdisciplinary approach we all take and identifying all the support options available on and off island,” Dr Richards added. “At the HSA we strive to improve access to care and treatment locally. By building diagnostic capacity and maintaining a robust referral system we can overcome barriers to timely diagnosis and management.”
The forum will feature presentations by cancer care experts of the Authority and a panel discussion and display booths of cancer support groups in the Cayman Islands including the Breast Cancer Foundation, Cayman Islands Cancer Society, Jasmine and Cancer Registry. It will also be a platform for patients, survivors and attendees to share experience, concerns and ask questions. One CME credit will also be awarded to healthcare workers who attend.
Started by the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC), World Cancer Day’s primary goal is to reduce significantly illness and death caused by cancer. It is also about reducing stigma, targeting misinformation and raising awareness about cancer. The local theme ‘Cancer in Cayman: Together we will fight’ stresses the importance of taking action at every level to reduce the impact of cancer.
“While the government and healthcare organisations take the necessary steps to increase cancer prevention efforts within our country, each individual and business should take preventative and supportive action as well,” said Cancer Registrar Amanda Nicholson. “Businesses, for instance can reduce the exposure of their staff to occupational carcinogens in their working environment and individuals can adopt healthier lifestyle practices.”
“Cancer survivors in Cayman also have the unique opportunity to make a difference by joining our national cancer registry,” Ms Nicholson stated. “The Cayman Islands Cancer Registry (CICR) supports cancer prevention within the community by helping us understand how the disease impacts our population. When medical professionals and health officials understand basic cancer trends within Cayman, they can do much more in terms of cancer management and prevention. The registry is voluntary and completely confidential and all cancer survivors within the community are welcome to join. By sharing just a little bit of information about their diagnosis, they bring us closer to understanding what cancer trends look like in our country.”
The latest data from the CICR shows nearly 500 people registered. The most commonly reported cancers are breast (37% of reported cases), colon (9% of reported cases), and cancers of the blood (7% of reported cases).
Anyone wishing to register may contact the Cancer Registrar, Amanda Nicholson, at (345) 244-2560 or at Amanda.firstname.lastname@example.org. Registering is quick and confidential.