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SVGMA head addresses challenges facing cancer patients in SVG

SVGMA head addresses  challenges facing cancer patients in SVG


Cancer is a serious problem in St Vincent and the Grenadines (SVG) and many persons who are affected by the disease do not have the financial power to enable them to get proper treatment.

Other problems associated with having a cancer diagnosis in SVG are not being diagnosed early enough and the treatment for cancer not being readily available here.{{more}}

“Apart from monetary issues,” says head of the SVG Medical Association (SVGMA) Dr Rosalind Ambrose, “there are so many avenues in the scope of this disease of breast cancer that are crying out for assistance and none of them are easy.”

Earlier this month, during the launch of Project Pink, an initiative geared towards providing monetary support to cancer patients, Ambrose, an advocate for breast cancer here, spoke about the numerous issues associated with the fight against the deadly disease.

“…our (SVGMA) hope is that women will be diagnosed at an earlier state in breast cancer. However, we continue to struggle to help women through the costly exercise of the post mastectomy management; in our experience, the greatest challenge remains the cost of sustainable cancer treatment, the drugs that are required, access to radio-therapy and these are all extremely expensive,” stressed Ambrose, while speaking to a gathering at the French Veranda at Villa.

She noted that the SVGMA’s dream is to establish this country’s own oncology or cancer treatment centre, beginning initially with chemotherapy administration and management.

“We can graduate into providing radiotherapy and other support services,” stressed Ambrose, revealing, “we are in the process of attempting to source the required drugs from an alternate cheaper source and will follow through with this initiative until we get this programme firmly off the ground.”

The SVGMA head said that they have achieved other things as it relates to dealing with cancer here, and this latest dream is firmly in their reach and would help more patients.

She said that in order to achieve some of the SVGMA’s objectives, more funding is needed.

Ambrose noted that the plan to have the treatment available on island requires money to acquire surgical facilities; equip and make appropriate work areas for managing and preparing and administering chemo-therapy agents; the ongoing purchase of pharmaceuticals; the training and sustaining of clinical, pharmaceutical and nursing staff.

Added Ambrose, “none of this is ordinary, but this is achievable and we intend to do our very best to achieve this aim.”

She also noted that persons must be supportive of cancer patients, as it is not an easy road.

The consultant radiologist stressed that it is important for persons “to share that rugged journey, exchange their experience of the hills and the valleys of this disease that the patients must endure and to guide and support each other.”

She noted that for the past 16 years the SVGMA has undertaken a very bold, energetic and public campaign in building awareness of breast cancer.

She stressed that activities like the signature Pink Cap City Walk in October has brought awareness to the disease.(LC)