Statistics state that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer among women in the Bahamas. The island of Eleuthera is no exception. 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 stage, compared to only about 12% of female breast cancer patients in the United States. Further research from Dr. Hurley reveals that 24 -27% of Bahamian women have mutations of the BRCA1 and BRCA2 breast cancer genes, putting them at a higher risk for the disease. This percentage is greater than the world’s highest reported rate of breast cancer, which was recorded in women of Ashkenazi Jewish descent at 11%. Bahamian women are diagnosed with breast cancer at an average age of 42 compared to their U.S. counterparts who are diagnosed at an average age of 62. Statistics reveal that 43% of Bahamian women diagnosed with breast cancer die before the age of 50 while the average age of death in American women is 65.
Early detection is key to surviving breast cancer; therefore it is important for Bahamian women to be screened for irregularities in their breasts. In order to get a mammogram, women have to travel to New Providence which on average costs about $500. A needs assessment completed by Emory University’s Global Health Institute indicates that there are 3,000 women over 30 on Eleuthera, which is the suggested age to for Bahamian women to begin yearly screenings. From this number, 57% are not able to afford to travel to New Providence to get a mammogram. This is due to the fact that the unemployment rate on Eleuthera, especially among women, is high and many women are not able to afford medical insurance.
The purpose of Eleuthera Imaging Program is to provide mammogram and ultrasound services on Eleuthera, especially for those women and people in general who are unable to afford to travel off island to seek such services.
- Bring awareness to breast cancer and the importance of screening through education
- Retrofit building space to house equipment
- Procure mammogram and ultrasound machines for the island of Eleuthera
Rotary Clubs of The Bahamas
Cancer Society of Eleuthera