Rethink pink’ for breast cancer awareness

Breast cancer awareness month was launched yesterday with an appeal to women to take charge of their breast health, including annual screening starting at the age of 40.

Lynne Woolridge, the chief executive at the Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre, said that no screening test was perfect but that mammography was “the closest thing we have to it, and it remains the gold standard for preventive breast health”.

Ms Woolridge added that accuracy of tests was boosted last year with the introduction of 3-D mammography.

Breast cancer awareness campaigns use a pink ribbon.

Ms Woolridge called on the public to “rethink pink, and help us better understand the impact a cancer diagnosis has on our community”.

Island statistics on the disease are collected by the Bermuda National Tumour Registry.

But Ms Woolridge said the figures were inaccurate because there was no mandatory reporting for island doctors and cases diagnosed overseas were underreported.

Kim Wilson, the Minister of Health, said cancer was the second leading cause of death in Bermuda and, after lung cancer, breast cancer accounted for the majority of deaths in women.

Heart disease is the island’s number one killer of both men and women.

Ms Wilson added: “A 2016 survey highlighted the total of 78 reported cases on the island.”

The figures mean that one woman out of eight in Bermuda will be told at some point that they have breast cancer.

Ms Wilson said: “Early detection is critical, not only to survival but also to quality of life.”

She praised the BCHC’s equal access fund to help people get radiation treatment or detection services.

Kristin Burt, the wife of David Burt, the Premier, helped to launch the month. Ms Burt attended to support the centre’s symbolic birthday party for women about to turn 40.

John Wight, the chief executive of insurance firm BF&M, joined the launch and said the company was committed to playing its part to promote good health.

The company has backed the annual breast cancer awareness walk, which is scheduled for October 17.

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