Regional

More men join Sandals/Beaches breast cancer fight

Thursday, November 14, 2019

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NEGRIL, Westmoreland— Sandals and Beaches resorts in Negril say this year more men were engaged and eager to learn about breast cancer than the previous years of its annual breast cancer awareness campaign dubbed 'Simply the Breast', held last month.

The campaign which took the form of one hour sessions during parents' and teachers' conferences in schools, saw the team from Sandals Negril and Beaches Negril going into Pell River Primary School in Hanover, Happy Hearts Early Childhood Institution in Negril, Westmoreland, as well as West End Infant School, also in Westmoreland.

The team went in with one aim, which was to educate teachers and parents on breast cancer.

The meetings were led by Dorothy Satchwell, a breast cancer survivor, advocate and founder of the Misty Blue Cancer Care Foundation in Westmoreland.

But it was probably Satchwell's inclusion of male breast cancer survivor, Archibald Peterkin that sent the men in the rooms buzzing with questions, some even admitting to seeing female family members battle with breast cancer.

Peterkin recalled how he discovered a water-like substance coming from one of his breasts then he later felt something like a corn grain growing from the nipple. He said that he was diagnosed with breast cancer after a series of tests, sending shock waves to his wife and children who insisted that he waste no time in having surgery.

He shared that though it is rarely found in men and only about one in 1,000 men will develop breast cancer, it should not be taken for granted as breast cancer does not discriminate against gender or age.

“I would encourage all men to pay attention to their bodies. Do not neglect going to the doctor because we all know that as men, we sometimes don't like going to the doctor, but it is important that we go and important that we listen to them,” he said.

Jermaine Jerry, the Parent Teachers' Association vice-president at Pell River Primary School, shared that he had no regrets attending the event. He feels breast cancer awareness is everybody's business, all year round.

“It was very informative. It was an eye-opener for me to learn that men could actually be diagnosed with breast cancer. I also realised how important it is for men to know more about breast cancer. In fact, the same evening I left the function I did a breast examination on my spouse,” said Jerry.

He argued that it is necessary for men to keep abreast of the deadly illness not only because they too can develop breast cancer but because their support is vital.

“When Miss Satchwell spoke about a man who left his wife when her breast got cut off, I was deeply pained. It stood out to me more than anything else because it showed me that some of us still lack knowledge of the severity of breast cancer and the amount of support that is needed,” he added.

While male breast cancer is not as common as breast cancer in women, Satchwell shared that a man diagnosed with breast cancer is at a higher risk than a woman with it as it is usually discovered close to the end stage.

Jerry is not alone in his bid to become more actively involved in discussions on breast cancer.

Of the 150 people reached through this timely initiative, among them were approximately 20 men. A number of them expressed gratitude to Satchwell and the team from Sandals and Beaches, and vowed to share their new found knowledge with others.


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