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Gleaner Honour Awards - Jamaica Cancer Society: For Health And Wellness

Published:Wednesday | January 21, 2015 | 12:00 AM

Championing the fight against a deadly disease

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.


The Role Of Jamaica Cancer Society

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 fundraising 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, 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 subgroup 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, 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.