Over 90 Nevis women get free Mammograms

A cross section of the women who received mammograms

Pauline Ngunjiri…Nevis, July 14, 2010 – An oncologist,Richard Ishmail who is a faculty member, Medical University of the Americas recently told women who received certificates of participation in Pink Lily Cancer Care program that if breast cancer is caught early, it is almost 100 per cent curable.

Ishmail spoke to a cross-section of the 96 women who have participated in the charity’s free mammograms on July 3 at the Red Cross Building in Nevis where an appreciation reception was held for them.

“A mammogram is a very important screen. Mammograms prove their worth by catching breast cancer at stage one. If you catch it early, it is almost 100 per cent curable,” he said.

During the certificate presentation ceremony,a breast cancer and an ovarian cancer survivor gave personal experiences. Lea Cambridge Parris, the Founder and Executive Director, Pink Lily is on record saying that awareness creation drives out fear. Her constant slogan in her cancer talks is positive, “Cancer is no longer a death sentence.”

According to Tracy Parris, the Pink Lily Support Coordinator who addressed the gathering, the breast screening programme is the result of the funds raised in 2009 under the campaign 50k200, where a goal was set to raise EC$50,000 in order to screen 200 women. “After raising a total of $EC25,000 this has enabled Pink Lily to commence with the programme, that has enabled 112 women to sign up to receive free mammongrams,” she said and added that out of these, 94 women had successfully participated.

Parris said the success of the program was due to the hard work of Pink Lily volunteers . “Before the program could officially be launched and for screening to begin, Pink Lily had to ensure that the programme met with medical guidelines to be approved. Months of research, holding meetings, designing the programme and preparing forms and documentation was going on behind the scenes all in anticipation of the launch and would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of the Pink Lily coordinators.”

“The women who signed up pushed their fears aside and asked many questions. They were open to learning about how to be breast aware to help save their lives. We would like to acknowledge and recognize each lady who took part,” Parris said and added that participating in the Breast Screening Programme means women have stood up to cancer.

Ms Parris outlined the individuals and institutions that had made the screening program successful.

She said Pink Lily Cancer Care was launched by Lea Cambridge Parris in 2006 and with a team of dedicated volunteers, the charity has created awareness through the media, workplace cancer talks as well as cancer talks in churches and community centres. The awareness, Parris said, made women feel at ease and come out to participate during the successful first phase of the Breast Screening Programme.

She said the support and cooperation from Dr Jessica Bardalis, Dr John Essien, Dr Glenville Liburd, Alexandra Hospital, Dr Cardwell Rawlins, Dr Judy Nisbet and Charlestown Health Centre is greatly valued. The HIV secretariat, she said, had loaned their projector every week while Info Channel ran the BSP commercial, Choice FM and VON interviewed Pink Lily volunteers regularly and Leewards Times, the St. Kitts and Nevis Observer , SKNvybes, Nevis Pages and other media houses supported the programme.

“The partnership and generosity of Dr Mark Hodge and his staff Lonnie Naylor and Sharmara Willet is greatly appreciated. Petra Calvalho and Pauline Ngunjiri met with doctors in Nevis and held consultations with Dr. Mark Hodge in St. Kitts to introduce Pink Lily breast screening programme and to ensure that Pink Lily works closely within the screening guidelines, “Tracy Parris said. She has been active in ensuring the success of the program. She collected the BSP feedback forms and receipts from participants once they completed their screening and stepped in as pre counseling presenter, taking over from Lea Cambridge Parris at week five. Breast cancer survivor, Brenda Clarke who shared her experience with Breast Cancer helps distribute Pink Lily correspondence and literature in St. Kitts.

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