Chairman of the Maria Holder Memorial Trust ( and son of Maria Holder), Christopher Holder (Second Right)?? and granddaughter??unveil plaque to the Digital Mammography Suite at the Barbados Cancer Society??as Minister of Health, Donville Inniss (Right)??and Prof. Timothy Roach, President of the??Barbados Cancer Society (Left) look on.??????

Health Minister, Donville Inniss is urging Barbadians to recognise that early detection saves lives.

This call came today as the Minister lauded the Barbados Cancer Society, for offering early detection clinics for breast, cervix and prostate cancer. He was at the time addressing a ceremony at the Society’s Collymore Rock headquarters that saw the opening of two new suites – a Colon Diagnostic Suite and a Digital Mammography Suite.

Minister Inniss said: "… I am indeed gratified that the Barbados Cancer Society is this vigilant in its cancer research and always seeks to be in the vanguard of new technology which can assist its efforts at early detection and prevention of cancer, as well as providing support to persons with cancer."

Acknowledging that the availability of the diagnostic clinic would facilitate visual examination of the colon, Mr. Inniss deemed it "timely for Barbados, since colorectal cancer is currently the third most prevalent form of cancer here".

The Cancer Society was also praised for complementing the work of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH) and it was observed that both organisations had "promoted testing of asymptomatic persons within the targeted age range, or persons with any known risk factors, in an effort to bring about positive change in the statistics for colorectal cancers".

The Health Minister also noted that the Cancer Society had partnered with the QEH in the delivery of health care services from its inception, over 20 years ago, and the Society’s contribution to persons with cancer was meaningful and effective, making a difference in critical areas. These included providing transportation for patients to and from clinic for treatments; offering daily snacks for persons awaiting treatment in the clinic; and providing Cancer Support Group services for patients.

The Society was further recognised for donating equipment, financed by the Sir Harold St. John Foundation, to the Gastroenterology Unit of the QEH. "The Ministry’s relationship with the Barbados Cancer Society has been a mutually satisfactory and rewarding liaison which redounds to the benefit of all our citizens," Mr. Inniss surmised.

Reiterating the call for individuals to take charge of their health, the country’s Health Minister pointed out: "If you are in the risk group for a particular illness and a diagnostic test is indicated by your primary care physician, don’t procrastinate, take the test – it could very well provide early diagnosis and treatment of a potentially life threatening condition."

And, he added that his Ministry was guided by the thinking that prevention offered the most cost-effective, enduring strategy for the control of cancer, given that approximately 40 per cent of all cancer deaths could be prevented with early detection and treatment.

??The new extensions at the Barbados Cancer Society were made possible by a gift from the Maria Holder Memorial Trust to the tune of $202,000. In addition to the extensions, the organisation also received a mini-bus for free outpatient transport presented by Chairman of the Trust Christopher Holder. ??Maria Holder was a member and supporter of the work of the Society and was a volunteer.??jgill@barbados.gov.bb

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