MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation offers an array of programs designed for a wide audience of patients, their families, caregivers, and community members. These programs help to educate the public about cancer-related topics such as prevention, screening, and treatment.
Cancer is predicted to be the leading global cause of death by the year 2020. Within the Caribbean and Latin America, out of 598 million people, 1.1 million are diagnosed with cancer every year. Out of that number 600,000 people die from cancer annually. It is predicted that by 2030, this rate will double with regards to both death and reported cases.
On a more intimate basis, cancer is the second leading cause of death for non-communicable disease in Jamaica, next to cardiovascular diseases. Jamaica currently doesn’t have a National Cancer Registry, hence the real impact of cancer on the country on a whole is immeasurable.
Westmoreland has a population of more than 142,000 people. Approximately 60% of the residents are living on or beneath the poverty line. The parish has one Public General Hospital to service all the residents. Sadly, the hospital is dismally under staffed and under equipped to meet the need for cancer care and treatment in the parish. There is not one Cancer Medical Specialist on staff, neither does the hospital have any specialist equipment for cancer treatment.
Residents are not able to receive continuity in care should they be diagnosed with cancer. They have to travel long distances outside the parish to have biopsy or CT Scans done for diagnosis. Being diagnosed with cancer can be scary for the patient, but the diagnosis can also have an impact on the entire family. Regrettably, some patients never receive diagnostic services as they cannot afford the inflated costs.
Some surgical procedures are done at the hospital such as mastectomy. However all treatment through Chemotherapy and Radiotherapy are done outside the parish which put tremendous financial, physical and emotional burden on persons undergoing treatment for a disease that in and by itself carries so much challenges.
It is estimated that between 220-250 persons within the parish are diagnosed with cancer and of that number 100-120 die from the disease annually. It is further estimated that 24 persons from the parish population will die as a result of cigarette smoking alone. Should this trend continue, it is estimated that within the next 15 years, the number of persons across the parish dying from cancer will be anywhere between 400-450 annually.
Westmoreland as a parish has limited resources with a large burden to bear as it relates to cancer diagnosis, treatment and education/awareness. Undoubtedly, the outlook for people with cancer in this parish is of great concern, however, it is not hopeless.
There is no intrinsic reason why as a country/parish, we can’t do as well on cancer as those countries that frequently top the international league tables. There should be no excuses for limiting the scope of our ambition. Clearly, it won’t be easy neither will there be overnight miracles. Our focus on outcomes will bring new energy and drive on the issues that can really make a difference – education, prevention, earlier diagnosis, and better quality treatment using the best available medicines and technology, and more choices in treatment options for patients.
The objectives of MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation for Westmoreland Cancer Care are clear:
1. Better information leading to cancer education and awareness
2. Enhanced Prevention through community outreach Health Fairs
3. Improved Recovery and Survivorship with more family and community involvement
4. Quality of Life gained with positive outlook and a return to gainful employment
5. Improved outcomes for patients and families for transition from fear to hope.
6. Access to numerous proven Natural Alternative Cancer Protocols and Supplementary Treatments.
7. Encouraging and facilitating cancer research of the Jamaican population, for understanding, prevention and treatment within the cultural parameters.
MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation’s Programs and Services support initiatives to reach the general public, the medically underserved, and minority populations in deep, rural Westmoreland. Our programs and services are designed to improve access to cancer information, prevention, care, and treatment advances, both traditional and Alternative. Additionally, we aim to reduce the impact of cancer health disparities among poor, marginalized, and medically underserved populations in the parish.
It is upon this premise the MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation, Limited was formed and we are committed to work with the residents of the parish of Westmoreland and beyond to achieve these objectives. Our work is Mission Centric, and with the collaborative efforts of all stakeholders the MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation will create a positive change in the lives of cancer patients and their families throughout the parish and adjoining districts.
Cancer is thought to be a family affair, but here at MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation, it’s a community affair. We know that we cannot achieve all of our objectives by ourselves, and that is why this is a community and parish wide effort, including all stakeholders. MitsyBlue Cancer Care Foundation recognizes the value of every citizen of this country and is guided in giving service by our commitment to excellence and leadership.
We will provide exemplary physical, emotional, and spiritual care for all the citizens of Westmoreland and its environs who come to us, regardless of age, colour, gender or social class. We will research and bring the best, most successful Alternative Cancer Treatment Protocols, so cancer patients and their families have choices. MistyBlue does not believe in the ‘one size fits all’ protocol.
There will be a paradigm shift in the way cancer is treated and cured, because we will bring all the information available about successful alternative, natural therapies that have been saving lives and lengthening lifespans all over the world. Lack of financial resources will no longer be a reason for anyone not receiving cancer treatment. Through our education outreach we resolve that MistyBlue will make a difference. An informed populace will become a healthier people.
Within this context, stakeholders will have room for personal and professional development, and the public at large will benefit from a wide range of research, educational outreach, screening, diagnostic and treatment options, that will impact on the general health of the people within this community. With the cooperation of the citizenry and the team members, our ultimate goal of early detection and reduction in the rate of cancer in Westmoreland will be achieved.
Our Tagline is: “TOGETHER WE CAN ACHIEVE MORE.” I know we can…Team Westmoreland can.
Our Community Service Plan details our efforts to meet the cancer healthcare needs of the community, improve access to cancer healthcare services, and provide limited financial assistance to patients in need.
We welcome opportunities to hear from members of our community and to form beneficial, collaborative partnerships, with community organizations, businesses, educational institutions, medical personnel and clinic staff. To share your thoughts,
email us at info @mistybluecancercare. com
Dorothy Satchwell, Dip. Ed., BSc, MA
MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation, Limited