As cancer has touched the lives of many Bahamians, civic organizations have increased their call for government to introduce a cancer registry in The Bahamas.
October 1 marked the start of Breast Cancer Awareness month, and it also provided a number of cancer awareness activists with a platform to challenge government to follow through on a decade’s old promise.
“I want to send the message to persons in government, we still do not have a cancer registry and I have been calling for one since I was diagnosed 24 years ago,” said Willie Moss, Honorary Chairperson of Komen Bahamas.
While Moss has called for the registry for over two decades, Susan Roberts, a founder of the Cancer Society of The Bahamas said the Society has been doing the same for some 42 years.
“Forty-two years later we do not have one yet and that is ridiculous,” Roberts said. “How do we possibly know where we are with fighting this disease? When we go to conferences and represent the country elsewhere it is rather embarrassing to have to say that we don’t know what our statistics are.”
It was revealed that there is a registry that currently exists, but it is not a comprehensive one that many are agitating for, according to Dr. Vernon Davis, Administrative Officer at the Princess Margaret Hospital (PMH).
“The problem is that it is what we call a hospital-based cancer registry,” he shared. “Now, we are in a position whereby the services provided at PMH accounts for 70 percent of the care provided in the country so therefore the hospital-based registry gives us a fairly good idea about what is happening.
“What we really want is a national cancer registry whereby we will be able to combine what is happening throughout The Bahamas.”
Dr. Davis touted that the establishment of the national cancer registry will provide easy access to data which will enable cancer organizations to know exactly how they can target their efforts in the cancer fight.
He confirmed to media Monday that the establishment of the national cancer registry is on the horizon.
“I think we have passed the legislation for the national cancer registry so I look forward that in the coming year we will be launching it officially,” he said.
Dr. Davis confirmed that the registry will help to tailor programs for cancer prevention and treatment.