Discounted cancer screening coming next month

January 29, 2021
Women line up for cervical cancer screening at the Jamaica Cancer Society.
Women line up for cervical cancer screening at the Jamaica Cancer Society.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW), through its Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) and Injury Prevention Unit, is partnering with various entities to provide islandwide cancer screening offered at discounted rates for the month of February.

Next Thursday, February 4, is recognised as World Cancer Day, and because screening is the best way to identify cancer in its earliest stages, screening outreach will form a central part of this year's commemoration,

The ministry has partnered with The Woman's Place, Apex Radiology, Radiology West and the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) to offer the discounts. The JCS will be providing 60 free screening places (mammogram and pap smears) to persons referred by the public health centres.

Though screenings are a vital aspect of comprehensive healthcare, many people either delay or avoid getting screened for cancer because of the cost and the fear of hearing the worst.

"In response to the fear factor as a cause for delaying screening, we are widening our channels of communication in order to have conversations with persons to provide more information and try to allay their fears," stated Dr Nicola Skyers, acting director of the NCDs and Injury Prevention Unit.

She continued, "Facing fears of potential cancers is difficult, but it's important to do. It's the best way to take care of your body and yourself. If you don't have cancer, the news will be encouraging. If you do, learning about your cancer may be disheartening, but it's the first step to treating and overcoming the cancer".

Sanchez Palmer, medical physicist with the ministry, also noted, "Each type of cancer has its own screening tests. Some types of cancer currently do not have an effective screening method. Developing new cancer-screening tests is an area of active research."

The MOHW has planned a series of public education activities and virtual events under the global theme 'Together, all our actions matter I Am and I Will'. These scheduled activities will see intense focus on cancer awareness, prevention and control, and create opportunities to sound a clarion cry for screening.

The centrepiece will be the staging of a live event on Thursday, starting at 8 p.m. on the ministry's social media pages, where the public is invited to interact with health professionals, who will discuss cancer and answer questions.

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