Eleuthera, Bahamas- Statistics state that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the Bahamas.  According to Judith Hurley, M.D, Breast Cancer Unit, University of Miami, nearly 45% of Bahamian women who are diagnosed with breast cancer already are at the late stages of the disease, compared to only about 12% of female breast cancer patients in the United States. A survey done by Emory University in conjunction with the Cancer Society of Eleuthera and the One Eleuthera Foundation, further indicated disparities in the knowledge, attitudes and beliefs of women on Eleuthera relating to the disease. These statistics have helped to guide the formation of the One Eleuthera Foundation’s Breast Cancer Outreach Program (BCOP) which is partly funded by a grant acquired from Susan G. Komen. Since 2013, the outreach program has operated throughout Eleuthera and now, will expand locally and also to 3 family Islands.

This past weekend, a total of 10 women were identified and trained to serve as breast cancer aids for the Breast Cancer Outreach Program (BCOP). In addition to Eleuthera, the outreach will now be experienced on Cat Island, Exuma, Long Island.

Training sessions were held on Eleuthera over the course of two days on September 16th and 17th.  The group of enthused assistants received training on Public Speaking which was facilitated by Audrey Rodgers, who is Ministerial Moderator for the South Eleuthera Methodist Region.  Rodgers gave the group valuable tips and suggestions that would help to improve their presentation skills. 

The group covered basic breast cancer material provided by coordinator, Maisie Thompson throughout the two day sessions. Each committed to learning all they could on the topic in order to intelligently speak of breast cancer in their various communities.  The training initiative was designed to equip the assistants with the necessary tools to adequately disseminate breast cancer information and better support the existing cancer community. The newly trained Breast Cancer Outreach Assistants (BCOA) will now help bring greater awareness to breast cancer and educate on the importance of regular breast screening through education. The weekend ended with each being very eager to get on with the work as they all have personal stories of how they or persons known to them have been affected by breast cancer.

The training was sponsored by the One Eleuthera Foundation’s breast cancer outreach program in collaboration with Susan G. Komen.

“This move to advance the breast cancer outreach program aims to reduce the current breast cancer statistics through more education. The program will continue to collaborate with the health professionals and other organizations to complement what is already being done.” Quoted Maisie Thompson, Community Outreach Coordinator of the Breast Cancer Outreach Program (BCOP).

To find out more about the work of One Eleuthera please check out our website: www.oneeleuthera.org.

Written by: Shapreka Clarke

Edited by: Maisie Thompson and Embri Stuart