World Cancer Day luncheon reiterates government’s support in fighting NCDS


BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – As families in the federation continue to face the challenges of dealing with cancer, the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts has put the fight against cancer and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) on the front burner of its agenda.

At a World Cancer Day luncheon Feb. 11 at Marshall’s Restaurant, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, minister of state with responsibility for health, said that NCDs contribute to the leading cause of death in the federation each year and that steps are being taken to combat these diseases, with specific reference to cancer.

“The government has gone a step further in ensuring that we begin to address the treatment side of NCDs, in particular cancer,” said Minister Phipps as she highlighted the opening of the Oncology Unit at the Joseph N France General Hospital, which was made operational in December 2016.

Phipps noted that the ministry is looking forward to the public-private partnerships that continue to aid in facing the challenges presented by NCDs. “We do not have all of the answers; we do not profess to know all of the answers, but together I think we continue to make a difference and to recognize that at the heart of everything else is the challenge that comes down to your own sense of femininity and masculinity,” she added.

She shared her own personal experiences of dealing with cancer among family members and said that “cancer is no respecter of [people].” She also noted that the cost associated with the treatment of cancer can be very extensive and it is important to take preventative measures like living a healthy lifestyle to avoid a lifetime battling with cancer.

Chief Medical Officer Dr. Hazel Laws noted that an additional 74 people were diagnosed with cancer in 2017, most of whom were women in the age group of 50-59.

“Much needs to be done collectively for us to intensify the fight against cancer in the federation,” said Laws as she quoted the theme for this year’s World Cancer Day, “We Can. I Can.”