Alessandro Boyd, Gleaner Writer
The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) is joining the rest of the world to mark October as Breast Cancer Month.
"The Jamaica Cancer Society, for the past 57 years, has been committed to increasing the level of awareness among Jamaicans about cancer and the options that exist for early detection as a means of fighting this disease and reducing the burden on our country," Yulit Gordon, executive director of the JCS, told The Gleaner.
She noted that there are many benefits to be gained from ongoing self-examination and annual screening as a means of reducing vulnerability to this type of cancer.
"The message of the Cancer Society is very clear, early detection has been proven to save lives, get screened today," Gordon added.
There will be several activities throughout the month such as Pink Day, Cancer Providers Makeover and the Breast Cancer 5k run/walk on October 27. The Gleaner Online will also be going 'pink' in solidarity with the fight against breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the leading cancer in Jamaican women.
It accounts for 29.4 per cent of all cancers in Jamaican women.
Age-standardised rate (incidence) of 43.1 per 100,000 per year. That is, every year, for every 100,000 women in Jamaica, 43 new cases of breast cancer are diagnosed.
There is a lifetime risk of one in 21 or, for every 21 women in Jamaica, one will develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
The analysis by age group shows that breast cancer is the number one cancer even among younger women:
In the 25-59 age group, breast cancer is the leading cancer, and accounts for 36.9 per cent of all cancers.
In the 60-74 age group, breast cancer is the leading cancer, and accounts for 25 per cent of all cancers
In women aged 75 years or older, breast cancer is the leading cancer, and accounts for 23.1 per cent of all cancers," Gordon noted.
She also highlighted the fact that there have been advances in medical science and increased knowledge about cancer, which have resulted in the development of many new drugs that have positive outcomes for persons diagnosed with cancer but many of these drugs are expensive.