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Greater support system for breast cancer patients needed, says surgeon

Published:Thursday | October 19, 2017 | 12:00 AMChristopher Thomas


As Jamaicans continue recognising Breast Cancer Awareness Month, consultant general surgeon Dr Machell Stubbs is calling for a stronger education and support system so that persons with breast cancer can receive more effective treatment.

Stubbs made the appeal while addressing the recent media launch of the Kiwanis Club of Providence's eighth annual Breast Cancer Awareness 5K Walk/Run at the Fairview Shopping Centre's 876 Legends Club in Montego Bay, St James.

"I find that the target group for breast cancer social support is females, and it's obvious why - because the incidents of breast cancer are far greater in them than in males - but I am not talking so much about getting male awareness increased as about the awareness of family, friends, and the Church," said Stubbs.

"One of the thought processes in females is that this is a mutilating surgery, and they are not going to look attractive anymore, and when their spouse does not turn up, you can imagine how you have now cemented their fears," Stubbs added. "If we can get this information out there, that we have the support system, and make these resources more available, then I believe we can have a greater compliance rate."

Yulit Gordon, president of the Jamaica Cancer Society, said breast cancer has a negative economic impact on Jamaica.

"Breast cancer has a tremendous socio-economic impact on our country, as the high cost to treat this cancer has led many Jamaican families into bankruptcy," Gordon said.

"According to the Ministry of Health, approximately 300 Jamaican women die annually from breast cancer, and most of these women die in their productive years because of late diagnosis."

The Kiwanis Club of Providence's Breast Cancer Awareness 5K Walk/Run will be held on October 29, with all proceeds in aid of the Jamaica Cancer Society.