Regional Medical Epidemiologist, Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr. Maung Aung, says Jamaicans have a personal responsibility to manage health risks that can lead to cancers.
He pointed out that cancers are among the top-five leading cause of death among men and women in Jamaica.
“So [for example], we know that we have one in every two persons being obese or overweight and that is one of the contributing factors for cancer, and we can reduce that,” he said.
Dr. Aung, who was addressing a Jamaica Information Service (JIS) Think Tank at the agency’s Regional Office in Montego Bay, St. James, recently, further pointed to smoking as a leading cause of cancer and noted that persons can manage their risks and increase their life expectancy by “simply quitting”.
He said that exercise is equally important and is one of the reasons the Government introduced the ‘Jamaica Moves’ campaign to promote physical activity among the population.
“You cannot just sit right there. Whatever you do and wherever you are, you just have to start moving. Those are the sort of things we started to introduce. Those are the things we have control over,” Dr. Aung said.
“So I just want to repeat the importance of personal responsibility. When you start doing exercise, when you reduce your weight, when you do not smoke, and when you do not have any other condition, you are going to… live longer and you are going to be free of cancer,” he noted.
Dr. Aung has partnered with the Westmoreland-based MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation to inform, educate and support cancer patients in the parish.
The Foundation will spearhead several teleconferences to highlight statistics and trends relating to cancer. These will be streamed on various social media platforms on the second Wednesday of each month from August to December, between the hours of 6:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.
The events will be streamed on Zoom, the MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation’s YouTube and Facebook pages as well as JIS’s YouTube and Facebook pages.