In a radio and television address to mark Breast Health Day by the observed by the Reach for Recovery Breast Cancer Support Group, Minister Liburd pointed out also that the coverage will include regular check-ups, mammograms, air ambulance and the cost of treatment.
“Breast cancer treatment, especially chemotherapy and radiation therapy, can be extremely expensive. We are all too aware that the astronomical cost of such treatment can cause persons diagnosed and their families to deplete their life savings, go into substantial debt or to be plunged into poverty,” she told the nation.
Miss Liburd said that medical insurance is one way of providing relief and as part of the plan “all who need breast health services, be it prevention, diagnostic or treatment, will be able to use their insurance cards to pay for such services.”
In relaying this message of hope, Miss Liburd said there is a better and brighter future for breast health in St. Kitts and Nevis.
She said Breast Health is an integral part of her Ministry’s focus on protecting health, promoting good health and preventing ill-health.
“Scientific research has identified a number of factors that protect the health of our breasts. These protective factors include: (1) A minimum of three hours of exercise per week. (2) Limiting alcohol consumption to a maximum of one drink per day. (3) Keeping body weight under control. (4) Eating a diet based mostly on foods from plants and (5) Breastfeeding,” said the Health Minister, who added that science shows that women who breastfeed and girls who are breastfed have less chance of developing breast cancer.
“It is interesting to note that all of these protective factors relate to personal lifestyle choices, which require great discipline especially in these times when it is far easier and much more fashionable to eat fast food rather than a good home-cooked meal and to sit behind our computers, lap-tops and ipads for hours rather than move about,” said Minister Liburd, who further pointed out that these choices inevitably lead to obesity and its associated complications such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes and arthritis.
“The good news is that breasts cancer is avoidable, preventable and if diagnosed early, treatable. It therefore behoves us all to make wise life-style choices to maintain healthy breasts. The simple formula is physical activity, a healthy well-balanced diet and regular check-ups. Early detection saves lives. Indeed breast health improvement is a journey that calls for continuous collaboration between the public and private sectors and civil society to strengthen protection, promotion and prevention services,” she said.