In Sickness and in Health


    Carlene Davis advises men to stand by spouses with breast cancer

    Veteran reggae and gospel singer Dr Carlene Davis is advising men to be intentional about intimately supporting spouses who are battling breast cancer.

    Dr Davis, who has been cancer-free since a fight with the disease in the early to mid-90s, was speaking at The Jamaica National Group’s Power of Pink Pop-Up Session held on October 7, on the steps of its JN Bank HalfWay Tree branch, smack in the middle of the busy St Andrew urban centre.

    “My husband was the one who discovered the lump while we were on tour, and he stood by me every step of the way. Our love just grew stronger and stronger. I’m speaking to the men out there, if it happens to your spouse or your partner, or your mother, [but] especially your wife, don’t run, don’t leave her,” the renowned singer, who holds a doctorate in pastoral counselling, beckoned. “That’s the time you need to stand with her because you made a commitment which says ‘in sickness and health’.”

    She said “family and faith” were the pillars that supported her along her journey, and she also charged women to stand by their husbands should they be diagnosed with breast cancer, as- although in rare cases- men can also develop the disease.

    Saniah Spencer, JN Group Marketing Executive

    Saniah Spencer, JN Group’s Marketing Executive, who was at the event, encouraged both women and men to be vigilant about their health and to get tested.

    “We are encouraging women and men to take the necessary steps to detect breast cancer as early as possible and significantly increase their chance of surviving the disease,” she advised.

    She urged women, especially to: “Take steps to do your breast examinations, get your mammograms done once you detect any abnormality or once you have reached the age of 40, and take time for self-care and express gratitude.

    Ms Spencer outlined that this year’s Power of Pink breast cancer awareness campaign is being held for the fifth year. This year’s theme, “Take the Steps”, seeks to educate and raise awareness about the benefits of early detection.

    Dr Davis also encouraged women to be proactive.

    “We know that there are many people who have not made it because of breast cancer, but I’m just grateful that He (God) has kept me to remind men and women that early detection is key. The earlier you get checked out, the earlier you can deal with it and live a long life,” she advised.

    Lauding The Jamaica National Group’s efforts, Dr Davis noted that when she was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1996, there was limited information readily available on breast cancer.

    “Back in the day when you heard the word ‘cancer’, you just think death. I’m going to be honest. I don’t feel that way today because look what the Lord has done. Right? He has kept me [for] 26 years cancer-free, and I know that it is because of my faith and family and the support of all the doctors that led me through as I did the surgery, chemotherapy and all of that,” she said.

    Beyond raising awareness through its campaign, Ms Spencer revealed that The Jamaica National Group is also providing 500 Jamaican women with free mammograms, to which there has been an overwhelming response, as the offer has been fully taken up.

    She noted that several JN member companies are conducting activities, including providing special offers to the public. Proceeds from the offers will go to the JCS and Jamaica Reach to Recovery.

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