Awareness campaign renews for colon, prostate cancers

Dozens gathered at the Cayman Islands Seafarers Association hall on Tuesday night to hear Alfonso Wright of the Lions Club of Grand Cayman talk about awareness of colon and prostate cancer.

After losing one of its past presidents to colon cancer – Delano Hislop, in January 2011 – the Lions Club launched a public awareness campaign and “Prostate and Colon Cancer Events,” also known as PACCE. The next event is a three-day walk next month.

According to the American Cancer Society, excluding skin cancers, colorectal cancer is the third most common cancer diagnosed in both men and women in the United States.

PACCE chairman Mr. Wright said when the club first began talking to men about colon and prostate cancer, the subject was not well received.

“Men just seemed to not pay a lot of attention to their health and always left things until the last minute,” he said.

“We had town hall meetings in the past and most of the men would stand in the back of the room because nobody seemed to want to talk about having colon or prostate issues,” he said.

He further explained that there was a stigma that men who were experiencing prostate issues were “not being able to perform as a man.”

Mr. Wright urged men and women to undergo regular health screenings, stressing that early detection can help save lives.

“We want to encourage men – and females as well because colon cancer is also something a lot of females suffer with – to understand it is always better to get your checks on a regular basis,” he said.

He said last year the Lions Club conducted 150 prostate exams and “out of those PSA exams, a lot of people had been referred to doctors for further additional care.”

The three-day “Journey For Life” walk/run, in memory of Mr. Hislop, starts at the Lions Club Community Centre on Crewe Road daily, beginning at 4 a.m. on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, July 5 to 7.

“We’re in our third year and we need your support to help us push it as it goes along. Maybe some of you have been affected by prostate or colon cancer; if not, I’m sure you know someone who has,” Mr. Wright told the seafarers.

“The three-day walk that we do is 15 miles per day and a lot of people say that’s too long. We try to look at the walk as being in comparison to a journey that someone has when they are diagnosed with cancer.”

There is a $50 charge for those interested in participating in the walk, and last year the event raised about $44,000. The money raised will be shared with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society and HospiceCare, with 50 percent going to the Cancer Society, 25 percent to HospiceCare and 25 percent to the Lions Club to promote awareness of the disease year round.

The Cayman Islands Seafarers Association donated $5,000 to the cause.

Free colon cancer screenings will be held in November.

To volunteer, to sponsor the walk, or to get more information, call 92-LIONS (925-4667).

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