The Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services welcomes Dr Armando Sardi to the TCI this week. Dr Sardi is the Medical Director of the Institute for Cancer Care in Baltimore, Maryland and a renowned Surgical Oncologist. Dr Sardi will be visiting the TCI between 17th-21st January 2018, during which time he will meet with a variety of stakeholders including; Ministry of Health personnel, TCI Hospital, NHIP, Turks and Caicos Medical Association in addition to the Cancer Society and Foundation. Dr Sardi will also engage with the Premier, Hon. Sharlene Cartwright-Robinson and the Minister of Health, Agriculture and Human Services to discuss the issue of cancer in the TCI.
The government shares the concerns of the general public in relation to the number of cases of cancer being diagnosed in the TCI. Globally cancer is the second leading cause of death with nearly one in six deaths worldwide attributed to cancer. The incidence of cancer is expected to rise by 70% over the next twenty years.
- According to the World Health Organization (WHO) around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. These risks are modifiable.
- Tobacco use is the most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer deaths.
- Late-stage presentation and inaccessible diagnosis and treatment are common in some lower and middle income countries.
- The economic impact of cancer is significant and is increasing.
Between 30–50% of cancers can currently be prevented. This can be accomplished by avoiding risk factors through lifestyle changes. The cancer burden can also be reduced through early detection of cancer and management of patients who develop cancer. Many cancers have a high chance of cure if diagnosed early and treated adequately. Modifying or avoiding key risk factors can significantly reduce the burden of cancer. These risk factors can be addressed by:Avoiding the use of tobacco containing products
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Eating a healthy diet with a variety of fruit and vegetables
- Engaging in regular physical activity at least three times a week
- Reducing alcohol use
Tobacco use is the single most important risk factor for cancer and is responsible for approximately 22% of cancer-related deaths globally. The Ministry of Health has taken a number of steps to address cancer in the TCI including the following;
- Development and implementation of a Non-communicable disease action plan
- Promoting healthy lifestyles through various media and activities to educate the general public about steps they can take to live healthier lives
- Development of National Cancer Screening Guidelines
- Developed the Tobacco Control Bill which was approved in 2016
- Developed a Nutrition Policy which will address risk factors associated with diet.
The Ministry of Health Agriculture and Human Services looks forward to engaging with Dr. Sardi and local stakeholders in reviewing existing and developing additional strategies and interventions targeted at reducing the burden of cancer in the Turks and Caicos.For further information, please contact the Health Promotion and Advocacy Unit on 338 2771.