Editorial for 17 May: Cancer testing is important

A scientific study being done in the Cayman Islands on women
who have had or are in the throes of breast cancer has meant free testing.

The good news is there’s more to come when testing resumes
in September.

The bad news is that so far only 65 women have been tested
for the BRC gene.

It seems that everyone in the Cayman Islands knows someone
who has or has had breast cancer, so the figure of 65 women being tested seems,
to us, a little low.

Fortunately, the bad gene wasn’t found in the first round of
testing, which included 30 women, all of Caymanian descent. The last batch of
testing was done last week – mostly on women from Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica
and Trinidad and Tobago – so the results are still pending.

We reiterate – the testing is being done for free so that
cancer researcher and oncologist Judith Hurley can get a true sampling of the
Caymanian population to draw conclusions. To walk into a medical laboratory to
have the blood test costs around $3,600 in Cayman.

If the gene is found here, women will be empowered with the
knowledge that they are at higher risk of developing breast or ovarian cancer.
They can then discuss with their physician the best route to take.

That’s what actress Angelina Jolie did before she opted for
a double mastectomy to reduce her odds of getting breast cancer from 87 per
cent to about 5 per cent. She made the announcement in a self-penned article
titled “My Medical Choice” that appeared in The New York Times on Tuesday. She
made the brave choice to announce her decision in an effort to alert other
women to get tested if there is a family history of breast or ovarian cancer.

For that, we thank her.

Having cancer isn’t something to be ashamed of. Women in the
Cayman Islands who have had or do have breast or ovarian cancer really should
avail themselves of the free testing when it is done again in September. If you
are found to have the gene, you will be able to give you daughter information
so that she can make wiser health choices.



  1. I understand that taking this test is good for women, but my question is if there are genetic finds in a woman what action would the testing committee recommend that may help them.

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