Tue | Aug 14, 2018

Jamaica Cancer Society launches celebrations with lecture

Published:Friday | April 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMRandy Bowman
From left: Donna Parchment-Brown, custos of St Andrew, whispers to Earl Jarrett, chairman, Jamaica Cancer Society, next to Dr Kevin Harvey, permanent Secretary, Ministry of Health, and Dr Belinda Morrison, ahead of the lecture.
From left: Dr Kevin Harvey, permanent secretary, Ministry of Health; Dr Belinda Morrison, presenter of the anniversary lecture, and Reverend Bosworth Mullings, at the Jamaica Cancer Society’s 60th-anniversary launch and lecture held at King’s House on Monday.

Recipient of The Gleaner's 2014 Honour Award for Health and Wellness, the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS), this year celebrates 60 years of service and commitment to the people of Jamaica in the fight against cancer.

In its bid to kick-start the activities, the society launched its anniversary celebrations with a lecture under the distinguished patronage of the Custos of St Andrew Donna Parchment at King's House under the theme, Never Giving Up.

In making the announcement, chairman of the society, Earl Jarrett, stated, "The organisation's primary objective continues to be educating every Jamaican about cancer, so that better safeguards can be taken against the disease. The fight against cancer is an ongoing struggle - a personal call to action has to be taken if there ever is a chance to win the war against this dreaded disease."

best weapons

The society recognises that education and early detection remain the best weapons against the dreaded disease, and the society achieves this through educational programmes, screening clinics - for breast, prostate and cervical cancers, medical symposiums and public forums, as well as public-health awareness campaigns in the media.

Since 1958, the Jamaica Cancer Registry at the University of the West Indies, Mona campus, has served as the principal source of regular comprehensive reports on the rate of cancer in Jamaica. The 60th-anniversary lecture titled Cancers in Jamaica: 60 Years On, analyses cancers found on the island with researchers Professor Barrie Hanchard and Dr Belinda Morrison relying extensively on data from the JCS.

The lecture, presented by Morrison, posited a steady increase in the incidence of all cancers in Jamaica over the past 60 years. Currently, the cancers with the highest incidence rates are prostate, breast, colon, lung and cervix, with prostate cancer having the highest mortality rate. According to Morrison, changes in the standard of living, introduction of screening methods and public-health education campaigns have changed the types of cancers seen in Jamaica, and the outlook is for this trend to continue, at least in the short term as public education increases and screening becomes more widespread.