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Health ministry committed to reducing impact of cancer

HEATHER-LYNN EVANSON, [email protected]

Health ministry committed to reducing impact of cancer

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WITH cancer second only to cardiovascular diseases as the most prevalent public health issue, Minister of Health Lieutenant Colonel Jeffrey Bostic said his ministry was committed to offering a variety of preventative health and diagnostic services for those at risk.

The Health Minister made the comments as he delivered opening remarks at the 7th Annual Conference of the Cancer Support Services, held at the Accra Beach Hotel earlier today.

“The Ministry of Health is committed to offering a variety of preventative health and diagnostic service for all persons at risk and those who face the challenges of having been diagnosed with cancers,” the Health Minister told his audience which included Chief Executive Officer of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital Dr Dexter James; the new president of the Cancer Support Services Henderson Griffith and a number of cancer survivors.

“The ministry is further committed to the continued investment of an enhanced surveillance system in order to accurately identify and capture old and new cases of cancers in Barbados,” Bostic revealed, as he added Barbados was proud to be the only English-speaking Caribbean country which had a Chronic Disease Registry.

The health minister said the impact of cancer was far-reaching and its economic impact was increasing.

“Having cancer affects more than a person’s physical health. It can cause worry and distress for the individual diagnosed; for the family and friends as well as giving rise to practical challenges like the restructuring of a room or two for those in homecare,” the Health Minister said, as he revealed the total economic cost of cancers in 2010 was estimated at $1.16 trillion.

“The Ministry of Health is actively engaged in formulating effective cancer control and prevention measures as it seeks to improve the well-being of all Barbadians by placing greater emphasis on prevention rather than cure.”

However Bostic, who commended the Cancer Support Services, said the Ministry of Health could not do it alone and would be forging partnerships with the private sector and civil society. (HLE)