New home needed

THE Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme (BSP) is in need of a new home to carry out the significant task of saving lives from the disease which kills 52 women in Barbados annually.

The call was made by Medical Co-ordinator of the Breast Screening Programme, Dr. Shirley Hanoman-Jhagaroo, as she delivered remarks during the CIBC FirstCaribbean International Bank Walk for the Cure Donation Ceremony, at the Radisson Aquatica on Tuesday evening, where she was presented with a cheque valued at BDS$214 000. The money was raised through the 2017 Walk for the Cure initiative.

She said the services the Programme offers continue to expand, outgrowing the limited space allotted to it at the Cancer Society’s Henry’s Lane, Collymore Rock headquarters.

“For those of you who use the services of the BSP, one can see we have now outgrown our space. Our surgeons are using a small back room alongside the washrooms of Cancer Society for counselling of patients. I am looking for a godparent somewhere to provide us with added accommodation,” she said.

Meanwhile, Dr. Hanoman-Jhagaroo told the sponsors that the monies raised in 2016 were allocated to upgrading the 14-year-old Medex Reporting System to an international Medex Programme, inclusive of the risk programme and PAC storage for mammograms. She said the radiologist now uses voice recognition for reporting images, facilitating availability of reports within 24 hours and shorter intervals when necessary.

“This was done at a cost of BDS$175 000. We thank you for this facility. It has made a great difference to reporting and storage of mammograms,” she said.

The Medical Co-ordinator said the Programme’s ongoing yearly expenses include subsidising the cost of mammograms and breast biopsies, making them affordable for the public. In addition, she said the service contract for maintenance of equipment costs the Breast Screening Programme BDS$125 000 annually, and explained that the service is necessary for maintaining efficient performance of equipment, but indicated that the Programme’s management is presently negotiating with other sources for the service.

The monthly service for an international radiologist from overseas, since the personnel is not yet available in Barbados, to perform ultrasound directed to enhance early detection, has to be subsidised, the doctor informed.

“Technology for imaging and early detection of Breast Cancer continues to develop. We at the Breast Screening Programme are aware of its challenges and continually try to upgrade our equipment to maintain the best possible service.

“The subcommittee recognises the importance of maintaining Breast Cancer Awareness throughout the year. There is a noticeable increase in attendance from October to February. In 2018, we are hoping to focus on the implementation of awareness programmes to run continuously all year round,” Dr. Hanoman-Jhagroo said.

“To keep abreast with new technology, in the interest of early detection of breast cancer, of course investment in 3D Digital Mammography Unit is in the not-too-distant future,” she added. (AH)

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