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Women need to become more proactive – don’t hide behind flimsy excuses

Women need to become more proactive – don’t hide behind flimsy excuses

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16.OCT.09

ADDRESS BY PRESIDENT OF S.V.G. CANCER SOCIETY ON THE OCCASION OF BREAST CANCER AWARENESS MONTH

We are now in the year 2009 and the disease of cancer continues to find a place among the chronic non-communicable diseases that plague individuals here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. That it is a lifestyle disease is still up for question, but what we do know about the body and its requirement to maintain a healthy state is that it needs a balanced diet daily; an abundant supply of water, adequate exercise and rest, and relaxation that frees it from stress.{{more}} We can safely say then that this is an excellent recipe for delaying the onset or completely eliminating the disease from our bodies.

In St. Vincent and the Grenadines, breast cancer diagnosis is now becoming quite frequent. It is an issue that still attracts much negative speculation from those among us who are not educated about the disease. This causes the affected to remain in a state of “limbo” and not come forward until such time that it scourges either them or those close to them.

This situation definitely needs to be corrected. The time has now come for an island-wide campaign that will not only give persons down to the smallest of details about the disease, but will also attempt to remove the stigma that is so tacked onto the diagnosed. This negativity prevents free talk about the disease by those who are victims, and those close to the diagnosed and even the curious. HIV/AIDS is a communicable disease and therefore is relatively easily contracted by someone. Cancer is not! Health officials run major campaigns that fight for the removal of stigma from the victims of HIV/AIDS. And quite rightly so!

Attitudes towards HIV/AIDS are changing slowly, but the fact remains, they are changing. Why then is a woman who falls victim to breast cancer still looked at and treated like an outcast, as damaged goods? The SVG Cancer Society’s motto is “Protecting and Healing through Education, Care and Support” and that is exactly what we continue to do. One of our aims is to educate especially women in high risk groups about routine checks that could be conducted by themselves, their significant other and those needed to be done by professionals.

As we are all aware, routine examinations facilitate early detection in a great majority of cases and early detection augurs well for a more successful case. No longer must ladies hide behind flimsy excuses, only to experience fear, devastation, depression and a host of other negative emotions when eventual checks return positive. Women need to become more proactive and ensure that checks be conducted. Ladies, we give ourselves and our body glorious treats of many kinds. It is time that we give these checks top priority and make them compulsory. After setting up a routine, it will become a habit. The onus is also on the men in our lives and our friends and loved ones to quietly insist that these are done, with gently coercive reminders and loving insistence.

Remember, no longer can we say that there is nothing that we can do about cancer, its detection and spread. Of, course there is much we can do. We need to reduce our intake of processed foods and revert to the non-processed foods that are cheaper and so easily obtainable here in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. Also, the Sport Department has organized exercise classes for persons who do not wish to simply take walks, yet cannot afford membership in a gym. Make use of these! We have water in abundance – drink a lot of this. Sometimes, when we hear talk of the necessity for up to eight glasses of water per day, we tend to argue of the improbability of taking that action rather than trying to see if we could at least try four. We need to get off our laurels and realize that the possibility of a cancer diagnosis exists for almost everyone, and to do that which is necessary to keep it away from us. Believe me, in the long run, it will prove to be much less expensive and significantly less traumatic.

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