Health Educator encourages Nevisians to take advantage of upcoming colon cancer screenings

Health Educator in the Ministry of Health on Nevis Mrs. Shirley Wilkes

CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (June 09, 2010) – Health Educator in the Ministry of Health on Nevis Mrs. Shirley Wilkes urged Nevisians to take advantage of colon cancer screenings scheduled for June 21-25 at the Alexandra Hospital.

According to Mrs. Wilkes while in a recent interview with The Department of Information, the screenings will be provided by Dr. Spencer Amory who is of Nevisian parentage and works as a clinical professor at the Department of Surgery, Colombia University in New York, USA.

“You are encouraged to get the screening done if you are over the age of 45 – One risk factor for colon cancer is increasing age. Studies have shown that most persons develop colon cancer after age 50- ; if you have been referred by your doctor; if you are known to have polyps (growths) in the colon (large intestines).

“Although most polyps are non cancerous, if they are left alone they can eventually become into cancer; if you have problems with constipation [or if you have] a family history of cancer of the colon or a personal history of any type of cancer,” she said.

The Health Educator indicated that the scheduled examinations would be the third time Dr. Amory conducted them on patients in Nevis with the first in June 2008 and the second in August 2009.

Notwithstanding, she said though the Dr. Amory’s services would be free but there would be a cost attached.

“Dr. Amory’s services are free however, since the procedure (colonoscopy) would be done at the theatre at the [Alexandra] Hospital, there is a fee for each colonoscopy done.

“Persons are asked to register at the Out Patient department at the Hospital on or before Friday 18th June. Dr. Amory will see a maximum of 35 persons,” she said.

Mrs. Wilkes used the opportunity to give statistics on the incidence of colon cancer on Nevis citing that both male and female over 45 should have the test done.

“Colon cancer can affect both male and female and is one of the major cancers in the world. In Nevis, our data for the last 10 years show that there is at least one death from colon cancer yearly, with more females than males within the last four years.

“In 2008, there was one male death. In 2009 there was none. Early detection of colon polyps and cancer is vital for survival. Colon cancer screening should be one of the health screenings that persons over age 45 should have especially if they have a history of colon cancer or other cancers in the family,” she said.

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