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Basseterre, St. Kitts, February 12, 2018 (SKNIS): As families in the federation continue to face the challenges of dealing with cancer, the Ministry of Health in St. Kitts has put the fight against cancer and other Non-communicable Diseases (NCDs) on the front burner of its agenda.

At a World Cancer Day Luncheon on February 11, at Marshall’s Restaurant, the Honourable Wendy Phipps, Minister of State with responsibility for Health, said that NCDs contribute to the leading cause of death in the federation each year and that steps are being taken to combat these diseases, with specific reference to cancer.

“The Government has gone a step further in ensuring that we begin to address the treatment side of NCD’s, in particular cancer,” said Minister Phipps, as she highlighted the opening of the Oncology Unit at the Joseph N France General Hospital, which was made operational in December of 2016.

Minister Phipps noted that the ministry is looking forward to the public-private partnerships that continue to aid in facing the challenges presented by NCDs.

“We do not have all of the answers, we do not profess to know all of the answers, but together I think we continue to make a difference and to recognize that at the heart of everything else is the challenge that comes down to your own sense of femininity and masculinity,” she added.

She shared her own personal experiences of dealing with cancer among family members and said that “cancer is no respecter of persons.”  She also noted that the cost associated with the treatment of cancer can be very extensive and it is important to take preventative measures like living a healthy lifestyle to avoid a lifetime battling with cancer.

Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Hazel Laws, noted that an additional 74 persons were diagnosed with cancer in 2017, most of which were women between the age group of 50 – 59.

“Much needs to be done collectively for us to intensify the fight against cancer in the federation,” said Doctor Laws as she quoted the theme for this year’s World Cancer Day “We Can. I Can”.

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