OFFICIAL RELEASE IN OBSERVANCE OF WORLD CANCER DAY 2020

“# I Am And I Will” is the theme chosen for World Cancer Day which is being
observed today February 4, 2020. The Federal Ministry of Health uses this
occasion to stand in solidarity with all persons who have been diagnosed with
cancer; to encourage and salute all healthcare professionals and family
members who help to care for cancer patients; and to acknowledge and
commend the efforts of governments, the private sector, researchers, scientists,
donor agencies and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) who continue to
invest in the fight against cancer. The Ministry also prayerfully remembers all
those who have lost their battles with cancer and the families whose lives have
been forever changed by the loss of their loved ones.

Minister of State with Responsibility for Health, the Hon Senator Wendy C.
Phipps noted that cancer continues to be a formidable challenge to the people
of St. Kitts and Nevis:

“Cancer is no respecter of persons,” Minister Phipps stated. “It does not
choose whom to attack, and it constitutes one of the most deadly forms
of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) for our citizens and residents.
As a cadre of illnesses, NCDs are already responsible for some 83% of all
deaths in the Federation, and cancer is the leading cause of death in our
Country: during the years 2014 – 2019, cancer claimed 235 lives, when
compared to heart disease and diabetes which accounted for 173 deaths
and 127 deaths, respectively, during the same period.”

Minister Phipps noted that in the year 2019 alone there were some 63 cases of
cancer diagnosed between January and November, with the leading types of
such cancers being breast cancer in St. Kitts (15.3%) and prostate cancer in
Nevis (11.5%).

On the occasion of the 20th Anniversary of World Cancer Day the Federation’s
Chief Medical Officer (CMO) Dr Hazel Laws, was careful to point out that every
citizen and resident of our Country must take into account our very small
population, and noted that – in spite of this – every effort must be made to
combat cancer. CMO Laws said:

Our national cancer data tell us that we must continue to aggressively
prevent the disease wherever we can, through healthy dietary and
lifestyle changes. There is growing data to illustrate that positive
thinking and spiritual growth also help. We must pursue regular
screenings since early detection saves lives. Our community-based and
institution-based health care services at our Nation’s health centres and
hospitals are here to help with such screenings and medical check-ups.
We must also be relentless in the quest for new, more effective and less
invasive treatments than the traditional ones, such as surgery,
chemotherapy and radiation. Technology, research and innovation will
continue to set the tone for these advancements to improve the human
condition.”

The Federal Ministry of Health utilises this 2020 World Cancer Day as the
ideal opportunity to remind our people that the selection of the theme #I Am
and I Will” is a sustained clarion call – started in 2019 – for each and every
person to recognise his or her individual role in the fight against cancer. The
Ministry stressed that every person suffering from cancer affects the rest who
are deemed cancer-free, particularly when that diagnosis unfortunately results
in the death of the patient:

“Every life in this Country is precious. As individuals, we must recognise that
‘each man’s death diminishes me.’ We are all in this together. There is
strength in numbers, and greater progress is achieved in reducing the global
impact of cancer through collective commitment and action,” the Ministry’s
statement on World Cancer Day concluded.

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