While the incidence of breast cancer among Barbadian women is increasing, the mortality rates remain quite stable – between nine and 11 per cent.
Chairperson of the Barbados Cancer Society’s Breast Screening Programme, Dr. Shirley Jhagroo, said that this could be attributed to early detection. Speaking recently at the launch of a week of activities to observe the 10th anniversary of the Breast Screening Programme at the Pan American Health Organization, Dayrells Road, Christ Church, Dr. Jhagroo explained that recent statistics showed a tendency to an increase in the incidence of breast cancer. There were 146 new cases in 2008; 150 in 2009 and 200 in 2010.
"The good news, however, is even though the incidence of breast cancer is increasing, the mortality from breast cancer has remained between nine and 11 per cent when compared to the total deaths from all cancers. Even though mammography is still the gold standard for detection of breast cancer, it has been found that in women with very dense breast tissue, it could be difficult for imaging with mammography to identify lesions. Recently, in California and in some parts of the United States of America, a bill was passed for women with very dense breast tissue to have ultrasounds as part of the screening for early detection of breast cancer," Dr. Jhagroo outlined.
To this end, she said the Breast Screening Programme was looking to purchase an ultrasound machine. The doctor added that funds were currently being raised to purchase the machine and urged members of the public, particularly corporate Barbados, to assist towards this worthy cause.
The Breast Screening Programme, a subcommittee of The Barbados Cancer Society, was launched in June, 2002. Its objective is to reduce premature deaths from breast cancer through early detection.