Today’s Editorial for October 24: Ensure cancer registry for CI

Passage of the Tobacco Law is proof in the pudding that when the public and agencies put enough pressure on our lawmakers, things get done.

Now that that bill has been approved, it’s time to use the same or similar tactics to get lawmaker to approve a cancer registry for the Cayman Islands.

Leader of Opposition McKeeva Bush made a motion for a nationwide cancer study in the Legislative Assembly in September. It received resounding support from all present.

But support isn’t enough.

Voting in favour of such a study – or a registry – and actually seeing that one is put into place are two entirely different things.

Now the Cancer Society has weighed in and will begin the push, along with Mr. Bush, to see that a registry/study is mandated.

In the Cayman Islands a cancer registry would be a systematic collection of data about cancer and tumour diseases collected by cancer registrars who would capture a complete summary of patient history, diagnosis, treatment and status for every patient in the country.

Those of us who have called Cayman home for a long time have often heard people say that there seems to be a high incidence of cancer here.

A cancer registry would tell us once and for all if that is true or not.

Mr. Bush, in his motion, said he wants a cancer study so the country can know the extent to which cancer is being diagnosed and treated; the prevalence of the disease; different forms of cancer; the incidence rate of cancer among native Caymanians and expatriate groups; and any environmental factors that may be a contributing factor in the development of cancer.

He is so right.

We do need to know all of those things.

The more knowledge we have about cancer, the better we can fight the disease and even possibly prevent some forms.

We all know someone whose life has been affected by cancer, either from the disease itself or experiencing the ravages of the illness in a loved one or colleague.

Creating a cancer registry would be just one more step to making our Islands as healthy as they can be.

The smoking legislation was a good start. But we have a long way to go.