The Cayman Islands would be wise to take note of some good news in the United States.
Cancer death rates in that country are down significantly and may be dropping at an unprecedented rate.
The lesson for the Cayman Islands is that US experts are crediting elevated awareness and increased use of screening procedures as the reason for the drop in deaths.
Awareness campaigns really do matter.
Screenings for cancers of the breast, prostate, etc. save lives. This positive trend in another country should reinforce our own country’s commitment to cancer awareness and screenings.
The work of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society undoubtedly saves Caymanian lives.
The equation seems simple enough: the more we are able to make people understand the threat of cancer and act accordingly, the more lives will be saved.
The more people we are able to successfully encourage to get screened, the more lives will be saved.
But the Cayman Islands Cancer Society is forever fighting an uphill battle.
Many people – especially men, say experts – shy away from taking preventive action. Unfortunately, when symptoms become obvious it may be too late.
It might help if we think of cancer in terms of something we are all too familiar with – hurricanes.
Like those terrible storms, cancer can be devastating and deadly but in many cases it can also be identified before it kills and it can be confronted in ways that will reduce the likelihood of it killing.
For example, one might think of getting screened for colon cancer like putting up storm shutters when a hurricane is stalking the Caribbean.
Given the fact that cancer has killed far more Caymanians than hurricanes, we might benefit from thinking how much attention we give to hurricanes compared to cancer awareness.
If saving lives is important to us, then our society should put more effort into cancer education, prevention, and screening.
The Caymanian Compass rarely if ever fails to give ample coverage to the work of the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
Every business in the Cayman Islands can help in some way, whether it is a donation, volunteering supplies for one of their events, or simply placing a stack of cancer prevention information sheets in the lobby.
If we all help a little we are likely to see significant progress.
The US report was produced in a joint effort by the American Cancer Society, National Cancer Institute, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and North American Association of Central Cancer Registries.
We encourage businesses and individuals to contact the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (114 Maple Road, Grand Cayman; Phone: 949-7618; www.caymanislandscancersociety.org.ky) and find out ways we can all help reduce our country’s cancer death rate.