Jamaica Cancer Society Honour Award
Cancer is among the leading causes of death in Jamaica, hence the invaluable role of the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) in bringing awareness about this lethal non-communicable disease, and highlighting ways to prevent and control the various types of cancer.
Since its inception in 1955, the Jamaica Cancer Society, a non-profit organisation, has embarked on an aggressive
public-education campaign to inform the public about this much-feared disease, as well as undertaken a number of initiatives to support its mandate: to fight and defeat cancer in all its forms.
Although approximately five to 10 per cent of cancers are due to genetic defects inherited from a person's parents, the reality is that many cancers can be prevented by not smoking, maintaining a healthy lifestyle (including diet and exercise) and limiting alcohol intake. The Jamaica Cancer Society constantly reminds persons of this reality, as well as promotes the fact that cancer can be successfully treated if it is detected early, hence the need for regular screening.
The society's Mobile Mammography and Pap Smear Screening programmes are of tremendous value to the female population, especially those in poorer communities and the many hard-to-reach places across Jamaica. Just as important are its clinics, which screen for cervical, breast and prostate cancer and offer selected diagnostic and treatment services, including from its head office in Kingston and three branches in St Ann/St Mary, Manchester and St Elizabeth.
Through its important education campaign, clinics, screening, counselling, moral support and other initiatives, the Jamaica Cancer Society indeed provides a myriad of services to the public.
For its invaluable contribution to the health and wellness of Jamaica in 2014, The Gleaner Company is pleased to present The Jamaica Cancer Society with The Gleaner Honour Award.
YULIT GORDON - executive director, Jamaica Cancer Society
Cancer remains a major public health issue and a threat to national economic and social development for the 21st century. I do believe it is accurate to say that every Jamaican family knows or knew someone who is or was diagnosed with this disease. Cancer care and mortality rates remain a staggering burden for the Jamaican society.
While there has been measurable success in increasing the level of public awareness over the past years, Jamaica still lags behind in the number of persons accessing the available screening services, both publicly and privately, to detect this disease in its early stage when the chances of survival are high. Prevention offers any economy the most cost-effective long-term strategy for the control of cancer.
For 2015, we will be seeking to increase our organisational capacity and sustainability through increased membership, the recruitment of volunteers to provide certain professional services, expand our fund-raising events, and develop more strategic partnerships to facilitate the expansion of our screening and public health education programmes.
We will also be lobbying the Government and the private sector to improve and strengthen our public health systems so that when our customers who are diagnosed with the disease enrol in these institutions for treatment, their experience will be a comfortable one.
EUGENIE FFRENCH - 49-year-old breast cancer survivor
The Jamaica Cancer Society helped me morally and financially through a very hard time. They have been very important in my journey as a cancer survivor.
Although the Jamaica Cancer Society deals with all kinds of cancer, there is another group, a sub-group by the name of Reach to Recovery, which is responsible for women who were diagnosed with breast cancer. I am a member of Reach to Recovery and that group is very supportive. We meet once every month and basically draw strength from each other. We also provide moral support to new persons and help them to find their way through hard times.
The Jamaica Cancer Society is very supportive and basically holds your hand and carries you through your difficult period.
I encourage every woman to conduct a breast examination, which can be done at the JCS every month. Especially those who have a history of breast cancer in their family, they should ensure that they have a test regularly, as early detection is key.
CLIVE CHAMBERS - 63-year-old prostate cancer survivor
The Jamaica Cancer Society is playing an excellent role in society when it comes to cancer support and prevention through education.
Even when they have the Relay for Life, it really opens up a lot of eyes. What they do is bring survivors to give testaments. I remember one such testament from a lady who had breast cancer and was a 30-year survivor. When persons like that share their experiences, it really gives hope to other persons, especially ones who had recently been diagnosed with cancer.
The Jamaica Cancer Society's role in society is very critical, that's why I volunteered to help them in any way that I can and as much as I can. The word needs to get out
* Outreach activities of the Jamaica Cancer Society include cancer and healthy lifestyle talks, displays and demonstrations.
* The Jamaica Cancer Society carries the message to a variety of locations, from schools and workplaces to churches.
* The Society's annual Relay For Life serves to not only raise funds and awareness to battle the disease, but also honour survivors and remember those who have lost the battle with cancer.