An official of the Barbados Breast Screening Programme says there has been a decline in the number of women seeking to have mammograms done in the last year and she is blaming the economic climate.
“In previous years, we have had more persons coming in for mammograms at the clinic. We would see between 25 to 30 patients a day and now, in the last fiscal year, there has been a decline in the number coming in as we see 15 to 20 women coming in and I think that has a lot to do with the economy and what is happening,” said Office Manager Monique Hinds.
Just last month, the medical coordinator of the Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme Dr Shirley Hanoman-Jhagroo also reported a decline in the number of women being diagnosed with breast cancer over the last three years.
“In June 2016, we had 59 new cases diagnosed; in 2013 it was 28; and between June 2016 and June 2017, we saw 28 new positive cases, because we had fewer people attending our clinic,” Dr Jhagroo had said at the time while explaining that the current economic situation had caused some women to focus on other priorities rather than their health.
However, Hinds said the situation was not reflective of the amount of work that has gone into building public awareness about breast cancer by advocates, including Janielle Blenman, who is a nine-year survivor of the disease.
“With persons like Janielle even though the decline is there, there are more persons talking about [breast cancer] and the stigma that was there before is not as prevalent as it would have been,” Hinds said.
She said Barbados Breast Screening Programme, which is in its 15th year of operation, had completed over 90,000 mammograms, biopsies and consultations to Barbadian women at an affordable cost.
“It is only because of corporate Barbados and entities such as Payless that this is possible,” she said.
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