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HSA’s World Cancer Day event to explore cancer care during COVID-19

On World Cancer Day, 4 February 2021, persons in the healthcare industry and members of the general public can learn about how COVID-19 has impacted cancer care within the Cayman Islands at a public forum hosted by the Health Services Authority (HSA).

The event will be held at the The Wharf Restaurant at 5:30pm – 7:30pm. The HSA will also light up the Cayman Islands Hospital in lavender, the awareness colour for all cancers, to commemorate the annual observance.

Under the theme of ‘Cancer care during COVID-19’, the event will delve into the response of the healthcare systems and cancer support groups rapid reorganization of cancer services to ensure that patients continue to receive essential care while minimizing exposure to the SARS-CoV-2 infection. It will also explore how the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the spectrum of cancer care, including delaying diagnoses and treatment. It will also.

“In order to mitigate any problems and disruptions that have developed from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must first fully understand them,” said HSA Oncologist-Haematologist Dr Lundie Richards. “This forum is an opportunity to mobilise all relevant parties affected, from cancer care experts and support groups to cancer patients and the public, to discuss the impact in a holistic and transparent way. In this age, we see patients and their families becoming more involved in health care decision-making and this event supports this kind of participation. We can all work together to come up with better solutions for how to reduce the negative implications of COVID-19 on cancer care in the Cayman Islands.”

The forum will feature presentations by cancer care experts of the Authority, including HSA Oncologist-Haematologist Dr Lundie Richards and a panel discussion and display booths of cancer support groups in the Cayman Islands including the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS), Jasmine and Cayman Islands Cancer Registry.

“While COVID-19 may have had minimal impact on treatment since cancer patients continued their treatments at the HSA under strict conditions to ensure their protection against the virus, there was a concerning reduction in screening and possibly diagnosis due to the lockdown,” stated Cancer Society Operations Manager Jennifer Weber. “With cancer support groups such as CICS present those in attendance will be able to get a clearer and broader perspective of the effects of this reduction, what sort of challenges may arise in the near future as a result and how we can work collaboratively to mitigate and manage these issues.”

Patients, survivors and attendees will also be able to share their experiences and ask questions. One CME credit will be awarded to healthcare workers who attend.

The latest data from the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry (CICR) shows a significant decline in number of persons who registered in 2020 in comparison to the previous year. “I hope that in addition to encouraging persons to resume recommended health practices such as getting screened, this World Cancer Day event will motivate people to join our national cancer registry,” noted Cancer Registrar Amanda Nicholson. “The registry is voluntary and completely confidential and all cancer survivors within the community are welcome to join. By sharing just a little bit of information about their diagnosis, they bring us closer to understanding what cancer trends look like in our country.”

Anyone wishing to register may contact the Cancer Registrar, Amanda Nicholson, at (345) 244-2560 or at Amanda.nicholson@hsa.ky.

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