“Get screened now!” is the message from the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society (TTCS) on the occasion of World Cancer Day which is being observed today. Well-known cancer survivor, entertainer Marcia Miranda, has joined the TTCS drive to encourage annual screenings on this significant day. Miranda, who recently lost her sister, Pearl Fernando, to cervical cancer, knows only too well the tragic consequences of not having regular screenings. “I strongly believe your survival rate is greatly attributed, not mainly to the chemotherapy or the radiation, but to early detection. A simple swab of the cervix as a routine yearly check may have saved my sister's life.” Miranda continued: “I know that a routine self breast examination, followed by a mammogram, saved mine. I urge you to make cancer screening a part of your life, especially if you are at high risk. “I saw my sister suffer terribly with late stage cancer. I wouldn't want anyone to be in that position. It can be avoided. There are obviously some cancers that are harder to find than others. However, for a disease that so many see as a death sentence, the fact is, that early detection, in my opinion, offers the best hope.”
Pap smears detect pre-cancerous lesions and allow early intervention to prevent the development of cervical cancer. Mammograms can detect abnormalities in the breast before a patient shows clinical symptoms. When early signs of the disease are identified and treated, patients have the best chance of good health. This year, under World Cancer Day’s theme of “Together let’s do something,” the TTCS is urging all citizens to get their relevant screenings done and to make it a regular part of their lives. Chairman of the TTCS, Dr George Laquis, affirmed this, saying: “People must get much more aggressive about their health, especially in light of the fact that a third or more of all cancers can be prevented with lifestyle choices: don’t smoke or abuse alcohol, do exercise regularly and eat a healthful diet. “It’s not just cancers that are prevented, but other chronic non-communicable diseases like heart disease and diabetes. People hold the key to good health in their own hands.
“And to prevent cancer, make sure you get your screenings done every year. If you catch most types of cancer early, your ability to fight the disease is tremendous.”
The TTCS is assisting the public in accessing cancer screenings by offering ten per cent off all mammograms and pap smears performed at its clinic at 62, Rosalino Street, Woodbrook in Port-of-Spain from February 27 to March 2. There are heavily subsidised tests available for men to do prostate examinations and all men over the age of 40 or who are at risk are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity. Persons are asked to call the TTCS at 622-6827 for more information. Dr Laquis added: “Some of our most common cancers in T&T, like breast, cervical and colorectal cancer, can be effectively managed if caught early. Do your loved ones a favour and get tested.”