November 28, 2021

The Editor speaks: Cancer

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Colin Wilson

Monday February 4th is World Cancer Day.

It is not a day for celebration but a day we should all think about as many of us living here have at some time in our lives been diagnosed with cancer. It is an illness a lot of us don’t wish to talk about and I was very vociferous against the local cancer society who were trying to get a compulsory register of everyone of us here who has cancer. They even held a poll to see who would agree with them.

They did not first ask any one of us who has or has had cancer for our views first. Neither did government who also took up this initiative. To my knowledge this compulsory registration has been dropped.

Instead, in my opinion, they should have been hitting home the ways cancer can be reduced.

On the Prevent Cancer website it states;

More than 1.6 million Americans will be diagnosed with cancer this year and more than 589,000 will die. However, research shows that up to 50 percent of cancer cases and deaths are preventable. Prevention and early detection are more important than ever — and are proven, effective strategies to lower health care costs.

You make choices every day that affect your health. Follow our Seven Steps to Prevent Cancer to reduce your risk.

  1. Don’t use tobacco.
  2. Protect your skin from the sun
  3. Eat a healthy diet
  4. Maintain a healthy weight and be physically active.
  5. Get immunized (HPV & hepatitis vaccines}
  6. Practice safer sex and avoid risky behaviors.
  7. Know your family medical history and get regular cancer screenings.

For more go to: https://preventcancer.org/education/seven-steps-to-prevent-cancer/

On the World Health Organization’s website they claim 17 people die EVERY MINUTE from cancer.

There has also been a lot of talk over the past five years of palliative care for cancer patients.

Palliative care is care given to improve the quality of life of patients who have a serious or life-threatening disease, such as cancer. Palliative care is an approach to care that addresses the person as a whole, not just their disease. The goal is to prevent or treat, as early as possible, the symptoms and side effects of the disease and its treatment, in addition to any related psychological, social, and spiritual problems. Palliative care is also called comfort care, supportive care, and symptom management. Patients may receive palliative care in the hospital, an outpatient clinic, a long-term care facility, or at home under the direction of a physician.

To find out more about this go to: https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/advanced-cancer/care-choices/palliative-care-fact-sheet

To find out more about how cancer patients are treated here in the Cayman islands go to: http://www.cics.ky/

The Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS) is a non-profit charitable organisation, which was established in 1995. The CICS relies exclusively on special fundraising efforts and donations from the community. The CICS uses the funds it receives to help the community in several ways, but most prevalently through cancer awareness programmes and direct financial assistance to patients who have been diagnosed with cancer.

In addition to direct financial assistance, the CICS helps provide patients with access to health care equipment (wheelchairs/walkers), prosthetics and provides counselling and on-going support services to patients and their families. Assistance from the CICS is available to anyone living in the Cayman Islands and, as an independent organisation, all monies raised in Cayman stay in Cayman to benefit our community.

They have just concluded their STRIDE fundraising event that took place on January 27th. Hundreds took part in the various STRIDE events but I have not been able to obtain the amount of money that was raised. Organisers said they were hoping to raise $50,000.

Funds will go towards their financial aid programme that helps people with cancer in the community pay for vital services and also helps the general public with screening, such as paying for an annual cervical screening for women who would otherwise not be able to pay for the service.

I understand last year the CICS paid out approximately $400,000 in financial aid.

To answer the question “Will there ever be a cure for cancer?”

The short answer to this question is no.

Whist there have been major improvements in all aspects of cancer care and treatment and many more people are having their cancer go into remission after receiving the treatments now available, the frightening news is he number of people being diagnosed is also growing each year.

Monday February 4th is a very important day in our calendar. How many persons do you know who have been diagnosed with this awful disease? How many persons do you know who have died from cancer?

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