U.S. Ambassador Ned L. Siegel announces historic National Breast Cancer Initiative

NASSAU, Bahamas – United States Ambassador to the Bahamas Ned L. Siegel today announced the launch of the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative (BBCI), at the press conference held at the Cancer Society of the Bahamas on Wednesday, August 27.

Joining Ambassador Siegel for this morning’s announcement and the subsequent roundtable discussion were partners of the BBCI, the Ministry of Health represented by Mrs. Camille Johnson, Medical Oncology Consultant for the Public Hospital Authority Dr. Theodore A. Turnquest, President and Chief Executive Officer of Susan G. Komen for the Cure Hala Moddelmog, Bahamas Christian Council President Patrick Paul, Sister Sister Group President Andrea Sweeting, and Cancer Survivor, Mrs. Toni Lewis.

“Even if we cannot eradicate this disease, through our efforts we can certainly improve the odds for so many Bahamian women through early detection, proper education, and excellent care. We especially want to improve the odds for so many young Bahamian mothers, sisters, wives and daughters – the future of this country – who are at risk,” said Ambassador Siegel. “Ultimately, the goal of the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative is to save lives.”

The Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative is a public-private partnership in conjunction with the U.S. Embassy, Bahamas Ministry of Health, the Cancer Society of the Bahamas, a diverse group of Bahamian oncologists, surgeons and radiologists, as well as the Sister Sister Group, the Bahamas Christian Council, Braman Family Breast Cancer Institute, international breast cancer advocacy organization Susan G. Komen for the Cure, and the University of Miami/Sylvester Cancer Center. The initiative was created based on the alarming findings of researchers, in addition to the observations of Bahamian and American medical professionals, survivors and supporters committed to changing the status quo and creating greater awareness about the importance of early detection in saving lives.

Research indicates that 48 percent of the Bahamian women diagnosed with the disease are under the age of 50, with 44 percent already having reached Stage 3 of the disease at the time of diagnosis. Studies also show that an alarming 43 percent of the women who succumb to the deadly disease are under age of 50 at the time of death.

“The Bahamas is blazing a trail in the Caribbean today with the announcement of this very important national initiative. As an oncology and hematology physician, the health and well-being of all Bahamians is my top priority. I applaud the level of commitment from the local and international healthcare leaders and organizations represented here today, and look forward to working together towards saving the lives of the hundreds of women on this island diagnosed with breast cancer each year,” said Dr. Teddy Turnquest.

“Bahamian women are dying needlessly from breast cancer,” said Susan G. Komen for the Cure President and CEO Hala Moddelmog. “Treatment often comes too late, if at all.” Moddelmog joined U.S. Ambassador Ned Siegel at today’s press conference and roundtable discussion on the state of breast cancer in The Bahamas. “Susan G. Komen for the Cure is proud to join Ambassador Siegel and the members of the Bahamas Breast Cancer Initiative as we work together to discover and deliver the cures for breast cancer.”

Immediately following the morning’s press conference, a roundtable discussion, The State of Breast Cancer In The Bahamas, was held at The Cancer Society of the Bahamas where the announcement took place. The event was moderated by Island FM 102.9 News Director Patty Roker.

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