CHARLESTOWN, Nevis, Monday May 28, 2012 – Nevis has seen an increase in the incidence of cancer and in 2011 there were 24 new recorded cases at varying stages.
This was revealed by Minister of Health Hensley Daniel at a recent press briefing at the Ministry of Finance to welcome United States Virgin Island-based oncologist /haematologist Dr Erole Mae Hobdy to provide services to persons stricken with cancer on Nevis.
Minister Daniel noted that treatment for the disease had not been readily available on the island and availability of the new service would help to reduce cost of treatment since it would be administered locally.
“I would like to record my thanks to you on behalf of the Premier and my other colleagues in government for your efforts. I am aware of the commercialisation of medicine and I believe that your willingness to assist us goes beyond that. We are mindful that the people of Nevis would be happy that we have an opportunity or an option to treat themselves here if they become sick with cancer,” he said.
“Of course we also know that patients will always want to go abroad but we will know, in time, that the quality of treatment provided by Dr Hobdy and her team will say definitively that it is better to stay at home.”
The health minister suggested that the new service would resonate with the families of persons who were ill. Finding resources to allow for treatment had always been a major issue, he said, and many persons have had to make all financial arrangements because they wanted their relatives to survive. He said the NIA has assisted as well.
“It is unusual that a small country like ours with 24 new cases of cancer is a major concern. I would hope, in time, that as she treats our people we can develop some form of research to determine whether it is the biology or whether it’s with the genes or whether it’s environment which is creating this difficulty,” the Health Minister said.
He said given a population of at most 15,000, with 24 new cases in a year he was hopeful that an alliance could be formed with Dr. Hobdy and other agencies to determine what was causing cancer in Nevis. “There must be something that we are not yet aware of which is causing this cancer,” Daniel said.
“Certainly if more people become sick from cancer it creates real difficulty for us in terms of productivity because as Dr Hobdy would tell you, they lose quite a bit of time from work. So it is in our interest for people to remain healthy and I would like at this point to urge our people to pay particular attention to our diets and our exercise so that we could prevent the cases of cancer,” he said.