Breast cancer is the leading cause of death by cancer for women in Bermuda, according to health minister Kim Wilson.
As she proclaimed Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Ms Wilson urged everyone to protect their health by talking about their risk factors with their doctor and having mammograms as recommended.
Ms Wilson said: “Breast cancer is the second most common cause of death from cancer in women worldwide after lung cancer and, in Bermuda, it is the women’s leading cause of death by cancer.
“With one in eight women being told in their lifetime that they have breast cancer, regular screenings and quality care are vital to improving outcomes and we are making strides and improving treatment options with the addition of Bermuda Cancer and Health Centre’s radiation therapy unit.”
Ms Wilson said some women were more likely to get breast cancer than others and understanding risks, such as family history, is important because early detection can save lives.
She added: “As we observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I urge everyone to protect their health by having a mammogram as recommended by your physician.
“Digital mammography is the best available method of detecting breast cancers, long before physical symptoms can be seen or felt.”
She added that BCHC provides free mammograms to women without insurance throughout the year.
Ms Wilson said women and men should also talk to their doctor about how to lower their risk factors and learn what tests are right for them.
She also revealed that HIP and FutureCare patients would now have access to radiation therapy and BCHC executive director Tara Curtis said she was thrilled by this.
Ms Curtis added that those who do not have health insurance would also have complete access to care.
She said BCHC conducts 12,000 screening and diagnostic appointments every year and since the radiation facility opened in May, it has treated 54 patients — 13 of which had breast cancer diagnosed.
Ms Curtis said: “We are certainly experiencing, as a centre, as a community, the benefits of having radiation therapy available locally.
“This would not have been possible without the continued and ongoing support of BF&M and our Government.”
Kristin Burt, wife of the Premier and this year’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month patron, said she was “thrilled and honoured” to take on the role.
Mrs Burt said she was looking forward to helping raise awareness in the community and supporting all of the events this month.
John Wight, the president and CEO of BF&M, said the insurance firm hoped to outdo last year’s record-breaking annual Breast Cancer Awareness Walk.
He said: “Initiatives like this and the walk help us all in our fight to prevent, detect and treat cancer.”
The event will be held at Barr’s Bay Park along with the 21st annual BF&M preventive health fair on October 18.
Mr Wight is also looking forward to the BF&M School Spirit Award and the top two schools that raise the most funds for the walk will win a monetary prize.
In addition to the BF&M events, AS Cooper is offering shoppers who donate a minimum of $5, 15 per cent off this week and Gorham’s will be hosting a Think Pink Ladies Night Out today.
This Friday is Wear It Pink Denim Day and Girls Night In events will be held throughout the month. The BF&M health fair will start at 4.30pm and the walk at 6pm.
Registration is available at BF&M, BCHC, Sportsellar and www.RaceDayWorld.com