Breast & Cervical Cancer top in the Region, CARPHA says Collective Actions Can Help
PRESS RELEASE (February 5, 2021): In the Caribbean region, cancer is the second leading cause of death. However, a significant number of cancer deaths can largely be prevented through primary prevention, screening and early detection, timely diagnosis and treatment.
The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths could be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors and implementing existing evidence-based prevention strategies.
“Breast and cervical cancer are the leading causes of cancer deaths in women and in Caribbean men, prostate cancer is the most common cause of cancer deaths, followed by lung cancer. This can have a significant negative societal impact in our Region. Cervical cancer is perhaps the most preventable through education, screening, early detection, treatment and vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV), and Caribbean countries must work towards the elimination of cervical cancer,” stated Dr Joy St John, Executive Director of the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA).
A person’s risk of developing cancer can be substantially reduced through the adoption of healthy lifestyles and the practice of suitable health seeking behaviours. This can go a long way toward reducing cancer risks and the associated personal and financial costs. Prevention measures include avoiding the use of tobacco, limiting alcohol use, maintaining a healthy weight, being physically active, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, and participation in early detection and screening programmes.
A growing recognition of the increasing burden of NCDs regionally and the need for stronger surveillance systems to track cancers have been driving factors in cancer registration efforts in the region to date. Current work to strengthen cancer registration in the Caribbean is coordinated by the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub established at CARPHA.
CARPHA is committed to working with key partners to reduce the burden of cancer in the Region. Through the Caribbean Hub’s work, Ministries of Health, and cancer registries in CARPHA Member States have benefitted from advocacy, technical support, training, and capacity building for strengthening cancer registration. This has contributed to an improvement in the availability and quality of cancer data, needed to support decision making for improving cancer prevention and control in the Caribbean.
The Agency also works with other CARICOM agencies and international institutions to impact trade agreements and influence the availability and access to healthy foods to support the prevention of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) including cancer.
The theme for World Cancer Day from 2019 to 2021 is “I Am and I Will”. This year is a reminder of the enduring power of cooperation and collective action. When we choose to come together, we can achieve what we all wish for: a world without cancer. The fight to reduce cancer deaths cannot be achieved in isolation. On February 4, CARPHA joins its Member States and the rest of the world to unite to make cancer prevention a health priority. Everyone can help reduce the burden of cancer by playing our part. Together, all of our actions matter. This World Cancer Day, what will you do?
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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