Thursday 6 August, 2020

Younger women diagnosed with breast cancer, a worrisome trend

Young girls and young women a plenty walked for the cure in Barbados.

Young girls and young women a plenty walked for the cure in Barbados.

Barbados has recorded practically only one new case of breast per week over the past year- a decline when compared to previous years. 

And the country is not only seeing less new cases, but they are also seeing more persons coming forward earlier for breast cancer screening, hence saving more lives.

loopcayman PHOTOS: CIBC First Caribbean Walk for Cure

However, despite catching the disease earlier and seeing a decline in diagnoses, Medical Coordinator of the Breast Screening Programme (BSP) of the Barbados Cancer Society, Dr Shirley Hanoman-Jhagroo is concerned especially about the young women being diagnosed.

Between June 2018 and June 2019, Barbados saw 52 new cases of breast cancer at the Breast Clinic diagnosed. “That is about one new case a week, however, the good news is most of those cases have been diagnosed very early, giving those women a 100-percent chance of survival,” said Dr Hanoman-Jhagroo, but she was most concerned about the 16 new cases in women under the age of 40. And she said that the “the youngest [woman diagnosed] being age 26.”

Despite the fact that the disease has been caught early and therefore the persons affected have a high probability of survival, she said that seeing the disease's prevalence amongst this younger cohort needs to spur new action and renewed efforts. “Therefore we have an obligation to do more for the younger women," she urged.

Against this background, she stressed that the funds from the 2019 Walk for the Cure will be used to upgrade from the 2D mammogram machine to a 3D machine which will help with early detection, especially amongst younger women. She confirmed that the Barbados Breast Screening Programme is not sitting idly by, that work is on to tackle this worrisome development early.

Since 2017, the number of walkers has been climbing from 18,000 and there are high hopes for next year’s 2020 edition.

She said that the Walk for the Cure is making a big difference and thanked partner CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank.

To demonstrate the impact of the Walk as a motivator for women to get checked, she proudly added that the number of self-referred women has moved from just 15 per cent to 50 per cent last year. “This tells us something – women are checking themselves,” and they are coming forward without prompts from doctors.

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