FOR the sixth renewal of its Power of Pink breast cancer awareness campaign, JN Group will be financing 150 mammograms for women. The free screenings will be made available on World Mammography Day, October 20.
Saniah Spencer, marketing executive at JN Group, says the initiative has been made possible through a collaboration with member company, JN Money Services, and the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS). The services will be offered through the JCS at its headquarters on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew.
"Mammograms are costly for several women and are not as readily accessible as we think. In many rural parishes there are no medical facilities that offer this service, and those which do can be expensive. Therefore, in many instances, women are forced to travel outside their parish to access the services," Spencer highlighted.
The cost to access mammograms is cheaper in public facilities, but the only public facilities which house mammography machines are the country's three Type 1 hospitals â€” The University Hospital of the West Indies, the Kingston Public Hospital (both in the Corporate Area), and the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St James.
The distance for women who do not live in these parishes makes access limited, while to get the procedure done at private facilities, they could pay as much as $12,000 for a mammogram.
"This is why two years ago we introduced this initiative, and last year, the offer was oversubscribed. Therefore, there is a high demand, and so we have maintained this offer to provide more women with a chance to prevent the disease by knowing their status," she pointed out.
The Power of Pink, being initiated this year under the theme 'Take the Brave Steps', will centre on encouraging women to conduct regular self-examinations and to get screened, so the disease can be detected early and treated to reduce deaths.
"Many women, and men too, fear receiving the news of a positive diagnosis, but by knowing their status early they can overcome the disease," Spencer assured.
She added that, as in past years, the campaign will be used to draw attention to and honour people battling the disease, as well as those who fought it bravely to the end.
"We will be celebrating the lives of warriors and remembering our heroes who have passed. Our campaign is targeted at educating Jamaicans about early detection and raising funds for cancer research and support for persons affected by the disease," she explained.
She noted that throughout October, the group will be supporting the cause through several of its various member companies.
"Beyond the need for early detection, we will highlight through our member companies the socio-economic challenges persons battling the disease face, and their stories of hope and survival," Spencer outlined.
She said persons may visit the JN Group website www.jngroup.com/pink/ to learn more about its activities in support of the fight against breast cancer and how they can participate.
Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaican women.
Speaking at a JN Group Power Pink pop-up session held outside the JN Bank Half-Way-Tree branch in October 2022, Micheal Leslie, acting executive director of the JCS, said that "it is predicted that one out of every 21 women in Jamaica will develop breast cancer in her lifetime".
He also noted that 1,208 new breast cancer cases were diagnosed in 2020, which was an increase of more than 25 per cent when compared to 2018. Of the 1,208 cases, there was an estimated 637 breast cancer deaths, which he referred to as "alarming statistics".
Last year, the JN Group donated over $2.5 million to the JCS and its breast cancer arm, Reach to Recovery, to facilitate breast cancer research and support the fighters.