The opening ceremony of Breast Cancer Awareness Month kicked off in Heroes Square late on Monday afternoon.
The ceremony marked the beginning of a month of meetings and events throughout the Cayman Islands to raise awareness of breast cancer.
The Lions Club of Tropical Gardens hosted the opening. Its president Melrose Gooding told the assembled crowd that early detection was the best protection against breast cancer.
‘We have made 500 mammograms available to the women of Cayman Islands,’ she said.
Events throughout this month to raise awareness of breast cancer include the annual Brenda Tibbetts Lund Memorial Run/Walk will be held for the tenth time on Saturday, 10 October. The start time from West Bay Road Public Beach for walkers is 6am and runners at 6:30am.
The walk/run is in memory of Brenda Tibbetts Lund, who passed away in August 1998 after more than a year’s struggle with breast cancer.
Among the sponsors of the walk/run is Dart Cayman Islands. Its communication manager Lynn Smith-Moore said: ‘Dart Cayman Islands is pleased to be a continued supporter of this annual event, given the importance of raising awareness and as a fundraiser for the Lions Club’s Breast Cancer Support and Education Programme.’
Tomorrow, [Friday, 8 October], is annual Dress Down/Dress Pink Day when everyone is encouraged to wear pink in celebration of breast cancer survivors or in memory of those who have passed on.
Ann Hunte, chairperson for the Breast Cancer Awareness and General Health Committee of the Lions Club of Tropical Gardens said: ‘We are promoting the importance of early detection being the best protection in the fight against breast cancer.’
She said that statistics show that breast cancer claims a woman’s life every 12 minutes with one in seven women developing it.
At the opening ceremony, members of government including Leader of Government Business McKeeva Bush, Deputy Leader of Government Business Juliana O’Connor-Connolly and the minister for health Mark Scotland attended.
Mr. Scotland and Mrs. O’Connor-Connolly joined Miss Teen Cayman Jamesette Anglin to cut a ribbon marking the launch of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Mr. Scotland told the audience that breast cancer accounted for 23 per cent of all female cancers and 14 per cent of all cancer deaths. While he said it continued to be a huge problem, he pointed to some positive statistics that showed the mortality rate from the disease was dropping.
‘There are 4.4 million women alive today who were diagnosed with breast cancer within the last five years,’ he said.
The minister for health described how the disease had hit close to home for him, saying he had lost both his mother and grandmother to breast cancer.
Other organisations involved in the awareness month are the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, the National Drug Council, the Health Services Authority, Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital and Medlab.
Throughout the month, awareness meetings and clinics are scheduled for each district. A calendar of events can be viewed at www.lctbreastcancerawareness.com.