BASSETERRE, St. Kitts — Both women and men should begin the practice of doing a monthly breast self-exam and ensure that they schedule regular clinical breast exams and mammograms, according to Minister of Health, the Honourable Akilah Byron-Nisbett.
“According to the John Hopkins Medical Centre, 40 percent of diagnosed breast cancers are detected by women who feel a lump. Establishing a regular breast self-exam is very important,” the minister said at the October 15 Sitting of Parliament. “That fact should encourage all of us to begin to do our monthly exams.”
Ms. Byron-Nisbett said that the Ministry of Health is doing its part with its own Oncologist Dr. Marissa Grant Tate providing free breast examinations to employees of various businesses and organizations during the month of October in a campaign dubbed “Meet the Girls.”
“We are encouraging all women to commit to regular breast exams and to get to know your girls on a more personal level,” she said. “When you get to know your girls, you are more able to quickly identify when something is not right. You would detect a lump early enough to be able to get a proper check-up or diagnosis from your doctor.”
The Health Minister is encouraging every business and organization to sign up and “be certain that the women within your business and organization receive a free breast exam and learn how to perform their own self-exam.”
“I would also encourage women to visit their health centres, the ones closest to you, and meet with one of our community nurses who will be able to provide that self-exam and teach you more on how you will be able to perform your own self-exam at home,” she said.
Ms. Byron-Nisbett said that her ministry will continue to work closely with the various cancer societies and foundations as they all work together to bring awareness to and support for breast cancer and for women and men, who are living with breast cancer.
Ms. Byron-Nisbett’s comments come during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is celebrated from the October 1 to 31 annually. It is an annual international health campaign organized by major breast cancer charities to increase awareness of the disease and to raise funds for research into its cause, prevention, diagnosis, treatment, and cure. The campaign also offers information and support to those affected by breast cancer.