Day 2 Recap – Bahamas Mission Delegation Trip
It was an exciting start to an important weekend as we toured the Islands’ only public hospital and convened doctors, advocates and survivors to discuss the breast cancer situation on the islands.
Our non-medical delegates started the day with a tour of Princess Margaret Hospital and got a first-hand glimpse of breast cancer treatment in the Bahamas. Our host for the tour, Dr. Tracy Roberts, a medical oncologist, talked about the urgent need for a national cancer registry and the importance of education and awareness. This is the only public hospital on the island, and the only place where patients can receive their treatment. Princess Margaret sees a third of the cancer patients from all of the Bahamas Islands as some patients go out of the country or to a private practice to receive treatment.
Following that, the group headed to the Cancer Society of the Bahamas for lunch and a taste of the Island life thanks to a special presentation from Junkanoo dancers.
In addition to the Princess Margaret Hospital tour, we held a medical roundtable that brought together top cancer doctors from the Bahamas, US and Canada. The discussion focused on common barriers to care including overcoming stigma and myths, the lack of a national screening program in the Bahamas and how to address one of the world’s highest rates of genetic breast cancer.
After outlining the most common barriers to early diagnosis and treatment, we shifted focus toward addressing some of these barriers. Expanding genetic testing, increasing advocacy efforts and training medical professionals on proper breast cancer screening and treatment techniques were some of the common solutions that we identified. Bringing the first Komen Bahamas Medical Roundtable to a close, our President Liz Thompson summarized the day’s conversation and offered ideas for next steps and follow-up.
Energized by science and Junkanoo – a perfect combination according to Bahamians – we combined the delegates and scientists for a Town Hall Discussion focused on survivorship. After opening remarks by our EVP/CMO Katrina McGhee and Bahamian breast cancer expert Dr. John Lunn, the group of advocates, doctors and survivors broke out into smaller groups for an inspiring discussion about survivorship.
As the day came to a close, survivors from the Bahamas and the US shared their courageous personal stories and explained how breast cancer had affected their lives, families and relationships. As a fitting end to an important and an enlightening discussion, more than 20 US and Bahamian survivors were recognized and presented with a small gift in honor of their survivorship.
About the author
Nancy G. Brinker promised her dying sister, Susan G. Komen, she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer forever. In 1982, that promise became Susan G. Komen and launched the global breast cancer movement. Today, Komen is the world’s largest grassroots network of breast cancer survivors and activists fighting to save lives, empower people, ensure quality care for all and energize science to find the cures. Thanks to events like the Komen Race for the Cure®, we have invested more than $1.9 billion to fulfill our promise, becoming the largest source of nonprofit funds dedicated to the fight against breast cancer in the world.