The key to breast cancer patients living longer is early detection. This is the finding from the data presented by Epidemiologist Dorothea Hazel at the annual Breast Cancer Forum on Thursday, October 29, 2015.
Using data collected by the Ministry of Health’s Information Unit, Hazel noted that 24 cases of breast cancer were recorded since 1999. In all of the cases the patients were 40 years or older. With the ages of 50-59 and 70 – 79 years as having the highest number of cases.
Hazel said the data shows that the period of time between diagnosis to death ranged from six months to five years. On average patients lived only two years following being diagnosed with breast cancer.
“There is a direct link between the time the patient is diagnosed and their survival,” Hazel told the gathering.
She added that the figures are not complete as their are residents who get all of their medical treatment abroad and may not have passed through the local health system.
Of note, was that several of the 24 breast cancer diagnoses were for men on island.
The other cancers which are most prevalent are prostate and skin cancers.
The epidemiologist said there was a need for not only public awareness but literacy on the disease. More self exams by men and women, training and retraining of healthcare workers and a change in the health policies which would allow for more access to needed medical support.
The forum has been an important part of the work of Clinical Sonographer Sonia Charles to bring awareness to breast cancer since 2009.