Georgetown, Guyana – (October 1, 2016) First Lady, Mrs. Sandra Granger, today, threw her support behind the doctors and nurses attached to the Oncology Department of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC), at a simple ceremony, held at Merriman’s Mall to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016. The ceremony was facilitated by the Oncology Department of the GPHC in collaboration with the Ministry of Public Health, the Ministry of Social Protection, the Giving Hope Foundation, the Cancer Institute of Guyana, the Periwinkle Club, and the Guyana Responsible Parenthood Association (GRPA), under the theme ‘I have Hope’.
The First Lady said that even though nurses continue to bear the brunt of negative criticism in Guyana’s health care sector, the service provided by these health care professionals in this department must be recognised. “[I] recognise and honour the nurses who have worked so well …being true to their profession of giving hope and giving service to patients who need it, and proving that it’s not just a professional element that counts, it’s also that personal care that makes a difference in the service you provide,” Mrs. Granger said.
Speaking to the attendees at the ceremony, Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton emphasised the importance of awareness on the seriousness of the disease. “I hope this year’s theme of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, ‘I have hope’, resonates all year round with not only breast cancer patients, but those with all types of the disease. There is hope and treatment for cancer and I urge that persons should never give up the fight. The family and friends of cancer patients… they should strive to provide patients with as much support as they can, so that they can be reassured that they are not alone in the fight,” he said.
Minister of Public Health, Dr. George Norton delivering his address at the ceremony held to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016.
Additionally Dr. Norton said that the Ministry is stepping up its efforts to improve breast cancer treatment in Guyana. ”We are working to intensify our public awareness of breast cancer as well as to increase the number of persons, who are screened so that the cancer can be identified at an early stage… [and] so that we can initiate early treatment,” the Minister said.
Meanwhile, General Medical Officer attached to the Oncology Department, Dr. Gooding said that from January 2016 to October 2016 92 women have so far been diagnosed with breast cancer. “With the alarmingly high incidence of breast cancer, the Georgetown Public Hospital and the Ministry of Public Health have started looking …to target breast cancer treatment and screening programmes,” she said.
The doctor then urged all the attendees at the event to get screened. “Silence is cancer’s best friend. So we try to eradicate that. Each one can reach one, so today, as we open Breast Cancer Awareness Month 2016, let us give cancer the boot, I encourage everyone to stand up to cancer. [It] is not a death sentence, with early detection we can save lives,” Dr. Gooding said.
The Department has a number of activities planned throughout the month to further raise awareness about breast cancer. Several nurses were honoured at the event and presented with plaques for their service to breast cancer patients.