Cancer Society health fair offers free screenings

Health screenings, cancer prevention information and access to physicians will be part of the Conquering Cancer event on Saturday. 

The free health fair from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Marriott Beach Resort will help attendees learn about their cancer risks and what they can do to lower them.  

“It used to be that no one wanted to even say the word cancer,” said Jennifer Weber, Cayman Islands Cancer Society operations manager. “Now people are so much more interested and know that if they’re aware, then they have the power to make a difference.” 

Armed with more information about cancer, Ms. Weber added, individuals have less to fear. 

The event is part of a three-day cancer symposium organized by the Cayman Islands Cancer Society. Experts are being brought in to provide continuing medical education for local medical professionals so that they are up-to-date in the latest diagnostic and treatment options. Those same experts will also speak to local businesses on Friday, and then give talks about cancer prevention and different types of cancer every 30 minutes throughout the day at the health fair. 

“We feel like this is a really good way to make sure that the information is well-disseminated to everyone,” Ms. Weber said. “The information is readily available to doctors and patients alike and we feel like that helps promote a great dialogue between patients and doctors.” 

The fair will feature booths for more than 30 local health-related organizations, including the Cayman Islands Red Cross, Cayman Islands Hospice and the Cayman Islands AIDS foundation. Health insurance companies will also be among the organizations with booths at the fair, as well as the standing health insurance commission. 

Attendees will also be able to speak to doctors one-on-one and can receive up to $1,000 worth of free health screenings and tests on site, as well as vouchers for tests that need to be completed off site. 

“This is of particular interest and importance for people who might have either no health insurance or low insurance,” Ms. Weber said. 

The Cayman Islands Diabetes Association will offer a free A1C test, which is a blood test used to diagnose diabetes. The Cayman Heart Fund will perform cholesterol checks and other tests. Those interested in receiving a general screening by the Cayman Heart Fund should fast for at least 10 hours beforehand, according to event organizers. 

The fair will also have giveaways, prizes and refreshments. 

Among the medical professionals from Cayman and overseas who will be speaking at the Cancer Symposium for medical professionals on Thursday night are Dr. Troy Gatcliffe, a gynecologic oncologist affiliated with West Kendall Baptist Hospital, Baptist Hospital, South Miami Hospital and Doctors Hospital, who will give an update on ovarian cancer; Dr. Adrian Legaspi, medical director of the Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology at Palmetto General Hospital in Hialeah, Florida, affiliated with Tenet, who will speak on trends in surgical oncology and management of gastrointestinal malignancies with minimally invasive robotic surgery; Dr. Vineetha Binoy, resident oncologist and head of the Department of Medical Oncology at Health City Cayman Islands, who will make a presentation on the genetics of cancer; Dr. Moises Lichtinger, a specialist in gynecology, gynecology oncology, obstetrics and gynecology, and robotic surgery at Holy Cross Hospital in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, who will present on the sentinel lymph node and endometrial cancer; Dr. Chad Ritch, assistant professor in the Department of Urology at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine, who will present on contemporary management of genitourinary malignancies; Dr. Rabih Bechara, chief of interventional pulmonology, pulmonary and critical care medicine at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America in Georgia, who will speak on screening for lung cancer; and Dr. Luis E. Raez, director of the Memorial Cancer Institute at the Memorial Health Care System and clinical associate professor of medicine at the Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Florida International University, who will present on target therapy and immunotherapy for lung cancer. 

Also speaking at the symposium will be Dr. Tanja Ebanks of Chrissie Tomlinson Memorial Hospital who will give a presentation on breast cancer diagnostics and treatment in the Cayman Islands and Dr. Christine Gourin of Johns Hopkins who will address HPV head and neck cancers.  

The cancer symposium takes place Thursday to Saturday. For more information, call the Cayman Islands Cancer Society on 949-7618.