Saint Lucia Joins World Cancer Day (2024) Observance

HEALTH seems to be a topic which always brings nations together and Cancer, as a disease continues to lead the global discussions as the number one killer among nations.

This February 4th, the world unites again under one voice, observing World Cancer Day under the Theme “Closing the Care Gap”.

St. Lucia will also join the observance, under the subtheme “Saint Lucia Moves to Conquer Cancer”.

The Cancer epidemic remains a major concern for many countries worldwide. According to the Pan American Health Organization, cancer has remained the lead cause of death in the Americas since 2020.

Annually, on February 4th, the world shifts its focus to a common message, Cancer Awareness. According to Family Life Educator, Naomi Grandison, the Ministry of Health, Wellness and Elderly Affairs, like its counterparts, will actively participate in the observation.

“We have adopted the theme ‘Saint Lucia Moves to conquer Cancer. The reason we’ve chosen that theme is because we’ve recognized that cancer is so significant, and it impacts all of us. We are concerned that we talk about cancer all the time but what are we doing? We need to move we need to take steps, actionable steps towards reducing our risk for cancer, and supporting persons who have cancer, the institutions who help persons who have cancer,” Grandison said.

Grandison further explained that the Ministry, this year, will take a different approach towards the observance of World Cancer Day 2024. Persons are being to encouraged to participate through the Pledge five challenge.

“We want you to take at least five steps to make a change and to stand in solidarity with persons who have cancer or who have lost a person with cancer. Take responsibility by practicing five healthy habits. No tobacco smoking, better eating, more physical activity, doing your cancer screenings and so on. Another thing you can do is uplift five people, another thing you can do is donate $5 to a cancer support agency. Another thing you can do is walk for five kilo and then you post that walk online and you tag five friends to do that challenge. So you can take these five steps or do five things, pledge to do it so we can reduce our risk for cancer,” Grandison said.

Senior Medical Officer for Non-Communicable Diseases, Dr. Shana Cyr-Philbert has on many occasions described the grim reality caused by the Cancer epidemic in St. Lucia.

However, on a positive note, Dr. Cyr-Philbert is praising the recent increase in interest by both the corporate sector and the public in participating in key physical exercise-based activities, as the island works towards a healthier nation.

Said Dr. Cyr-Philbert, “We’ve seen the numbers at the walks, we’ve actually had annually walks. We launched in September 2022. And we’ve seen the numbers, the visibility of the activities and so on. So we’re very happy with that, we’re hoping St. Lucia Moves is able to raise awareness of the value of physical activity but not just physical activity but of general wellness. Eating well, having proper rest etc., because all of those things together keep us healthy (and help) us fight our non-communicable diseases.”

The Ministry of Health is also appealing to the corporate sector to encourage and create opportunities for staff to participate in the Cancer screening process.

Some of the activities for this year’s observance are being hosted through a collaboration with organizations such as the St. Lucia Cancer Society.

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