The Ministry of Health is working on a national cancer action plan to address the root causes of and solutions to common preventable cancers in Barbados.

This was disclosed today by Minister of Health, John Boyce, as he spoke at the opening of the Gynaecological Cancer and Diagnostic Unit at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).

The unit will serve as a referral, diagnostic and therapeutic centre for women diagnosed with gynaecological cancers, such as cervical, ovarian, uterine and endometrial, vaginal and vulvar.

???This centre will offer PAP smears and colposcopy clinics for early detection and treatment of non-invasive cancers, and will allow for seamless referral for those individuals who require further interventions like surgery, chemotherapy and radiotherapy,??? he said. He added that in the near future, the services will be scaled up to include ultrasonography and hysteroscopy.

Stating that it was in the best interest of Barbados to introduce early preventative and interventional measures and mechanisms to reduce the health care costs associated with cancer, the Health Minister said that this enhanced diagnostic capability at the QEH would go a long way in achieving this end.

In addition, Mr. Boyce revealed that the human papilloma virus vaccine, introduced in 2014 to pre-teen and teen girls as one of the strategies in the prevention of cervical cancer, was now being offered to teenage boys, and the uptake was showing ???increasingly good results???.

He stressed the importance of research to develop new strategies to manage, eradicate, prevent and control the incidence of gynaecological cancers.??Noting that it was a task which could not be undertaken by Government alone, he urged non-governmental organisations, the private sector and individual Barbadian citizens to join in the efforts to bring about change.

The Health Minister thanked Globeathon Barbados, Sagicor, First Citizens Bank, Blue Print Creations, Chefette Restaurants Limited and all who contributed for their effort in making the opening a reality.

???The Ministry of Health applauds the support of corporate Barbados for the great strides they have made in providing a safe haven, a research hub and a light for persons who are ailing with such a serious non-communicable disease,??? he emphasised.

He also praised the efforts of consultant gynaecologist at the QEH, Dr. Vikash Chatrani, and his team for ???their tireless efforts in seeing this opening to fruition???.

Mr. Boyce further commended the Barbados Cancer Society and Cancer Support Services of Barbados for their continuous support over the years for Government???s initiatives with respect to all types of cancers, in both men and women.

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