Breast cancer still major health concern

While thousands of Barbadians took to the streets in support of breast cancer awareness, an official is concerned some women are delaying their breast screening tests for economic reasons.

This was noted by the Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme Medical Coordinator Dr. Shirley Jhagroo who told Barbados TODAY fewer women had sought mammogram screening this year. 

Dr. Shirley Jhagroo

She made the comments as the streets of Warrens, St Michael overflowed with pink on Sunday when thousands flocked to the FirstCaribbean International Bank headquarters for the annual Walk For The Cure event.

About 20, 000 champions joined corporate sponsors for the cause to increase knowledge and awareness about the disease.

Despite the many people who came out in support of the event hosted by the Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme Jhagroo lamented that the “financial situation” in the island was causing women to make choices that impacted their health.

“We live in a matriarchal society. Single parent mothers are trying to cope with everything so if she has got $80 for her mammogram . . .  she is going to put herself on the back burner,” the obstetrician and gynaecologist noted.

At the same time, she revealed that more women were being diagnosed with the disease. She attributed this early detection to the stepped-up awareness and knowledge campaigns.

Jhagroo also disclosed that younger women, many under the age of 40, were being diagnosed with breast cancer. 

She said in recent times most newly diagnosed cases were at stages zero to one with a five-year survival rate of 98 to 100 per cent. This, she noted, was staggeringly different to 2002 when the Cancer Society saw the majority of patients at stages four and five. 

The charity event, whose main sponsor is FirstCaribbean International Bank, comprised a 10-K run, 5-K run and 5-K walk and featured families, friends, teams from community organizations and private enterprises, all brightly outfitted in colour of the month – pink. 

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