Health and wellness symposium

THE One Eleuthera Foundation, in conjunction with the Family Medicine Centre, the Cancer Society of Eleuthera and others, hosted the 2nd annual “Pathway to Wellness: Reversing the Trends” health and wellness symposium.

The symposium, the guiding theme of which was “The Pathway to the Cure” was held August 1-3.

Focused on cancer, one of the largest contributors to morbidity and mortality in Eleuthera, the three-day event opened with a welcome reception on Thursday, hosted by the Rotary Club of Eleuthera at the Cancer Society building in Palmetto Point.

The Cancer Society’s facility was rededicated as a Wellness Centre. The multipurpose facility now houses a conference space, counselling room, kitchen and thrift shop.

Its committed team organises various programmes and events each year that promote awareness, prevention, cures and healthy lifestyles.

In addition, they help with breast and prostate screenings through fundraisers.

Passionate about the cancer cause, CSE president Juanita Pinder said: “This fight that we are in is a personal one as each of us [CSE board members] has now been touched by cancer. Our loved ones including my brother-in-law, Kevan McKenzie, who was just laid to rest, have all been victims of cancer.

“We as an organisation must continue to increase our efforts with early screenings, education, research and fundraising.”

Friday sessions included discussions on current cancer research, statistics, risk factors and options for management and treatment of the disease in Eleuthera and around the Bahamas.

This intense dialogue was led by a broad slate of presenters including Dr Delton Farquhason, vascular surgeon at Princess Margaret and Doctor’s Hospitals; Dr Laundette Jones, assistant professor in the Department of Pharmacology at the University of Maryland; Dr Robin Roberts, consultant urologist at Princess Margaret Hospital; director of UWI’s School of Clinical Medicine and Research Dr Norad Morgan; specialist in emergency medicine at Princess Margaret Hospital Dr Indira Martin and many others.

Among the topics of discussion at the symposium was the fact that cases of cancer, especially prostate and colon cancer, are on the rise.

Information presented by Dr Robin Roberts indicated that black men are twice as likely to be diagnosed at an early age with a more aggressive form of prostate cancer than white men.

He also noted that these black men tend to be more obese and are less likely to be screened, thereby bringing a death sentence on themselves.

Many are still refusing to be screened because of various phobias that are sometimes mythological or psychological, the participants heard.

Local research indicates that for Eleutherans, finances are also an issue.

Consistent with the Bahamas 2010 Census of Population and Housing, about 3,000 women on Eleuthera are over the age of 30.

More than 55 per cent of these women need assistance in getting mammograms.

Many only seek screening for cancers after they become symptomatic. More often than not, it is found that by this time, the majority of these individuals are already in the late stages of cancer, making them much more difficult to treat and significantly reducing their life expectancy.


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