Mark your calender Saturday, June 17, is the first day of a two-year breast abnormalities screening survey where 23 women participated in the screening.
The women took the opportunity to pass by the Vineyard Office Park Building in Philipsburg at the Collective Preventive Services (CPS), a department in the Ministry of Public Health, Social Development and Labour (Ministry VSA), to take part in the survey.
“Congratulation to the women who came out and who have already registered to pass by during the Saturday screenings. I compliment them for their participation as this is a very important screening for women’s health.
“Minister of Public Health Emil Lee and the Acting Secretary General of Ministry VSA Joy Arnell also visited the screening activity on Saturday.
“I am reminding women to mark their calendar for next Saturday and come out and contribute to the breast health screening survey. With the information that is gathered, we will be able to develop additional intervention strategies,” Dr. Virginia Asin, CPS Department Head said on Sunday.
Breast abnormalities represent a large spectrum of disorders including benign, congenital, hormonal and malignancies such as breast cancer.
Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide with over 1,384,000 cases detected in 2008. It is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, after lung cancer.
Breast cancer death rates have been declining due to earlier detection and better treatment. There is currently no data about breast abnormalities in the Caribbean and very little data for the prevalence of breast cancer in this region.
The purpose of this study is to screen for risk factors as well as estimate prevalence of breast abnormalities in the patient population of Sint Maarten.
Major risk factors for breast cancer in women are age, genetic predisposition and hormonal imbalance. Breast density is also a significant factor, especially in women 40 to 49 years of age.
Several breast cancer risk prediction tools have been developed that combine the major risk factors and their purpose is to stratify women into risk categories that can then be used to determine optimal screening strategies.
Clinical breast examinations followed by imaging studies such as mammography and ultrasound remain the mainstay of screening for breast cancer.
The purpose of the study is to gain insight into the types of breast abnormalities and risk factors in women 18 and above with no age cap in Sint Maarten.
CPS is one of three stakeholders which includes the Positive Foundation, and the American University of the Caribbean (AUC), the latter, is lead research agency.
The screenings will be carried out every Saturday or Sunday and the target audience are women 18+ years of age. The screening is carried out between 9.00am to 3.00pm.
For additional information you can call CPS at 542-3003 or 542-2078.
PHOTO CUTLINE: Minister of Public Health Emil Lee (2nd from right) along with the key stakeholders that are coordinating the execution of the survey.