United in the fight against cancer
Essiba Small firstname.lastname@example.org
Susan Curtis, the Deputy British High Commissioner, has lost a lot of friends and loved ones to cancer. So when the opportunity presented itself for her to tour the Vitas House hospice in St James and the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society, Rosalino Street, Woodbrook, she immediately cleared her busy schedule for a few hours.
Curtis became familiar with the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society when the British High Commission got involved in the society’s fund-raising concert featuring UK band Blake, held in August at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA).
“I am here really on an informal basis,” Curtis said.
“I really enjoyed working with the Cancer Society on the Blake fund-raiser. I thought it would be a good idea to see how the society functions.”
Curtis’s tour began at Vitas House, a free hospice for terminally ill cancer patients.
Managed by the society, Vitas House provides palliative care for terminally ill cancer patients at no cost. It was opened five years ago on October 18, with the first patient admitted in February 2009.
To date, Vitas House has 385 patients. The hospice is run by two doctors, a manager, six personal care assistants, cook and maintenance support; and is heavily dependant on volunteers who assist in visiting and cheering up patients when relatives are absent.
Later Curtis toured the Cancer Society with its general manager, Nicole Jordan.
Following her tour of the two facilities, Curtis made a personal donation to the society of an undisclosed sum.
For the month of October, designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Vitas House will present the movie Escape Plan on October 17 at MovieTowne. The movie, which stars Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, is a fund-raising event, proceeds of which will go to the hospice.
Vitas House will also benefit from Payless ShoeSource’s annual cancer awareness drive.
The store will donate ten per cent of the sales generated from its pink ribbon bracelets to the hospice. The bracelets will go on sale at all Payless ShoeSource stores in Trinidad and Tobago from October 1.
The campaign will be launched in the Caribbean and Latin America.
According to the current cancer statistics from the Dr Elizabeth Quamina Cancer Registry of Trinidad and Tobago, breast cancer is ranked at number two in this country, with 1,804 cases as of January 2003 to December 2007.
Prostate cancer was ranked at number one, with 2,198 cases.
Breast cancer is diagnosed as a result of an abnormality seen on a mammogram or a lump and also a change in consistency of the breast tissue, the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society website said.
Additional tests, upon the discovery of tissue change or a lump, include ultrasound, MRI, diagnostic mammogram (a detailed X-ray of the breast) and biopsy.
In Trinidad and Tobago, all citizens are entitled to cancer care and treatment free of charge with a doctor’s referral. Treatment is available at the Port of Spain General Hospital, San Fernando General Hospital, Eric Williams Medical Sciences Complex and the National Radiotherapy Centre, St James Medical Complex.
In Tobago, the Cancer Society has a mobile that provides Pap smears.
The society is relaunching its Mam-Med service, which will be available to citizens of Trinidad and Tobago and which will provide mammography services, Pap smears and prostate screening.