Madam President, members of Cancer Support Services (CSS), special invited guests. On the behalf of the members and the Executive Board of the Barbados Association of Tampabay, Inc. (BAOTB, Inc.) I want to congratulate and wish you much success on the occasion of your 1st Blue Gardenia Ball.
CSS and the BAOTB entered into a partnership in October 2010, with an objective to collectively support cancer patients and their families through a very tough and unpredictable period any family would endure. We admire your Mission and the efforts put forth by members of CSS to make your Mission a reality. You made a commitment and adopted ward C-12 at the QEH; specifically the love shown to patients of ward C-12 by your members, giving freely of their time to visit periodically each month and befriend cancer patients, who are residents of ward C-12.
The latest statistics relating to the incidents of cancer in our society indicates small changes in the incidents of cancer in some groups. Unfortunate the incidents in the minority community continue at a rate that is greater than any other ethnic group. Cancer continue to be the second-leading cause of death among Americans,responsible for one of every four deaths in the United States.
The American Cancer Society estimated that in 2012, about 1,638,910 Americans were diagnosed with invasive cancer, and 577,190 died as a result. These estimates excludes more than 1 million cases of basal and skin cancers expected to be diagnosed during the same period.
The rate of new cancer cases among women is highest among white women, followed closely by black women, however, death rates are highest among black women. The incidents of cancer among men is highest among black men, in particular prostate and breast cancer, but once again death rates are highest among black men. Overall the death rates among blacks are higher than any other group.
The National Institutes of Health estimated that the overall annual cost of cancer is estimated at $201.5 billion. Direct medical costs, including health expenditures is $77.4 billion and indirect costs associated with lost productivity due to premature death is $124.0 billion. This is a tremendous economic impact to our economy.
On average, I am sure the statistics in the Barbadian community is a microcosm of those quoted above. Therefore, it is incumbent on all of us to encourage our family and friends to get regular checkups and to make the necessary changes to our spirituality, diets and lifestyles. It is vitality important to practice the preventative measures required to avoid or minimize the incidents of diseases and opting for treatment later in life.
We commend CSS for leading the way through education and raising awareness of this dreaded disease. Offering fellow Barbadians free medical screening will result in early detection and minimize the incidents of full blown cancer in the Barbadian community. The BAOTB pledge to continue to support your efforts in helping our fellow Barbadians.
On a personal note, Ingrid and I regret that we cannot be with you to celebrate your 1st Blue Gardenia Ball. We hope that you will raise lots funds to help the cause, but more importantly, enjoy yourself, and have a great time. Always keep in mind that God’s people are happy people and we must enjoy life regardless of circumstances. May God bless and protect those impacted by cancer and other diseases; and God bless you and keep you safe. We love you and may God bless Barbados.