More Barbadian women die from below the belt cancers

An increasing number of Barbadian women are dying from gynaecological cancers, leading health professions to step up efforts to start a conversation on the prevalence of the disease.

Gynaecologist, Obstetrician and Gynae-oncologist Dr Vikash Chatrani did not give figures, but said the worrying trend was the reason behind the annual Globe-athon, which will be held this year on September 11, to raise awareness of a number of “below the belt” cancers, which include cancer of the ovary, uterus, cervix, vagina and vulva.

From left, Dr Vikash Chatrani, Patricia Brathwaite-Marshall and Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson.
From left, Dr Vikash Chatrani, Patricia Brathwaite-Marshall and Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson.

“These cancers, when added together, the number of deaths they cause per annum is of the same magnitude if not more, that is attributed to the number one cancer for women in Barbados.

“That means more women are dying because of these gynaecological cancers. It causes the same grief, if not more, because these cancers, they all don’t have good screening tests and the disease is not widely spoken about,” Dr Chatrani, who is also the team leader for Globe-athon, told yesterday’s launch at the Usain Bolt Complex.

He stated that the fundraiser, now in its fourth year, had been slowly helping to encourage discussions on such issues, noting that “our reproductive organs must be valued and honoured and spoken of with pride and dignity”.

“Women are coming forward, women are visiting their gynaecologists, and asking for that below the belt check… They’re asking for their pap smears to detect any abnormalities on their cervix; they want their ovaries, their uterus, their vulva and their vagina checked.

“They are remembering the signs. The message is getting out.  They are remembering the symptoms to look out for that may be a sign of pre-cancer or early cancer,” the Gynae-oncologist said.

Patricia Brathwaite-Marshall, Vice-President of Group Insurance at Globe-athon sponsors Sagicor Life Inc said there was still a lot more work to be done to effectively address the problem of gynaecological cancers.

“Just knowing that a pap smear can lead to early detection and corrective treatment can mean the difference between life and death for your mother, your sister, your wife or yourself.  We want to live in an era when cancer becomes a disease of the past,” she said.

President of the Barbados Cancer Society Dr Dorothy Cooke-Johnson told the launch that funds from previous Globe-athons had contributed to the construction of a new Gynaecology-Oncology Diagnostic and Treatment Centre at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, which was opened last December.

2 Responses to More Barbadian women die from below the belt cancers

  1. Alex Alleyne August 19, 2016 at 12:24 pm

    The hospital need to get the necessary machines up and working in order to do the TEST for such . Stop turning away females saying that a machine not working and asking them to go to a private doctor which will cost about BDS$1,500 or more. Now if the health department will ask for a small donation of BDS$1.00 per person between the ages of 18 to 65 per visit and medication,, those coppers will go a long way.

  2. Chris Wright August 19, 2016 at 11:54 pm

    Dear A. A : The hospital cannot and should not serve everyone for services which should be prescribed by a physician unless said persons are indigent or unemployed. As long as one is working there are insurance companies offering health insurance for this purpose, and in the same manner the cell phone bill, gas for the car and car care, mortgage, rent and all of the other bills are paid, health care insurance should be a priority.
    It is available to cover doctors visits and diagnostic tests which everyone needs.
    BTW, “below the belt” test also applies to men, I say that because of the machismo in men which prevents them from having colonoscopies, and test for prostate cancers. Thus when women decide to go to the doctors for their annual tests they should encourage the men, father, brother, husband, or lover to see the doctor also.


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