We Can’t Do It Alone

    JN Group

    Photo Caption: Natoya Brown, JN Group executive for operational risk, business continuity management and occupational safety and health 

    JCS welcomes partnerships to get more women screened for breast cancer

    With more than 400,000 women in Jamaica estimated to be over the age of 40- the recommended age to begin screening for breast cancer- the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) says it welcomes all support to get more women screened for early signs of the disease.

    Over the last 20 years, breast cancer has been the number one cancer affecting Jamaican women. While studies have shown that routine screening via mammograms helps with early detection that contributes to better survival rates among women aged 40-75, the JCS says the cost for screening remains a challenge for many.

    Shullian Brown, fundraising and public relations officer at the JCS, said the situation has led to hundreds of women always turning out to the entity’s headquarters on Lady Musgrave Road in St Andrew whenever there is an opportunity for free screenings.

    “These are difficult times for many people, many don’t have access to health insurance, and opportunities like these where people have access to free screening are few and far between,” said Ms Brown.

    Mammograms can be costly and accessing the service is harder for underserved women. According to the JCS, mammograms are limited within public facilities with only The University Hospital of the West Indies, in the Corporate Area, currently having an operational machine. Just recently a machine was handed over to the Cornwall Regional Hospital in St. James. The JCS provides mammography services at a subsidized cost of $5600, but all other machines are privately owned, and it can cost upwards of $7,000 to get screened.

    Every October, which is celebrated worldwide as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the JCS partners with several entities to raise awareness of breast cancer and encourage women to get screened. Ms Brown said several entities have again come on board this year for which they are grateful.

    This year, the JCS has partnered with the JN Group for a sixth time under its Power of Pink campaign to provide 150 women with access to free mammograms on World Mammography Day at the JCS’ headquarters.

    According to Ms Brown, it is these partnerships that have been propelling the JCS to achieve its goals, noting that as a non-profit, non-governmental organisation “we can’t do it alone.”

    “We don’t have vast amount of resources to assist the number of persons who come for assistance, because the cost of care and treatment in Jamaica is quite expensive. We’d love to help everybody, but we are not in that position.”

    Ms Brown said the more help the society can get to screen women and to provide care for women will go a far way in reducing the number of deaths among women on an annual basis.

    Natoya Brown, executive for operational risk, business continuity management and occupational safety and health at the JN Group also said encouraging and supporting early detection for breast cancer is one of the best proactive steps that workplaces can take to help people, including their internal team members, manage their health.

    “The Jamaica National Group has always regarded our greatest resource to be our people. Our support and activism for health and wellness is directly linked to our core values of creating better outcomes for everyone who interacts with our Group. Supporting prevention and treatment awareness for breast cancer, and all cancers, is part of the wider workplace wellbeing strategy,” she confirmed.

    Ms Brown shared that JN prides itself on being an inclusive company and explained that the messaging and financial support provided over the many years is the organisation’s way of demonstrating to members that “a positive diagnosis does not mean the end of the relationship.”

    She noted: “We are stronger together as we unite in bravely taking the first step and come what may, we are here for our people through counselling, health and life insurance plans and medical leave facilities.”

    The JN Group is supporting the JCS in the fight against breast cancer in October through its Power of Pink campaign, being executed under the theme Take the Brave Steps’. The campaign is being led by its member companies, JN Money, JN Life Insurance and JN Bank.

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