President of the Dominica Cancer Society Yvonne Alexander said early detection, healthy eating habits and exercise can help lower the risk of cancer.

"The Dominica Cancer Society is concerned about the fact that many more people are being diagnosed at an earlier age, some people succumb to the illness within months of being diagnosed and that many do not have the financial resources to access treatment in a timely manner," she stated

Alexander said the most common cancer affecting women in Dominica is breast cancer and in the case of men prostate cancer.

She stated that citizens should adopt a healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet.

"The nutritional content of the food that we consume, and when I say food that includes drinks as well, because studies are showing that cancer cells grow in situations where individuals do not eat nutritionally dense foods. People are indulging a lot of process foods, sweet liquids or juices and so on which in many instances do not necessarily have a lot of nutritional content but feeds cancer cells because of the sugar content," she explained.

Alexander said regular physical activity and regular health checks are also of vital importance.

"We can engage in regular physical activity with a brisk walk sometimes just about 10-30 minutes a day, park the vehicle at a distance and walk to where you're going that kind of thing or swim or dance that is a way you can engage in some sort of regular physical activity, not necessarily you have to have the gym membership or go spending money to remain physically active," she stated.

She encourages citizens to develop the culture of doing annual medical checks which include screening for the more prevalent cancers.

"We are encouraging women to do a breast self-examination every month, cost you nothing, you are doing it yourself. They say it is better done in the shower; you can do it while lying on your bed. If a woman is sexually active a pap smear is advised. Pap smears do not necessarily have to be done annually; pap smears can be done every two to three years depending on your situation, your condition. So we are encouraging women to have a pap smear because many individuals who have cancer is because of late diagnosis," she said.

Alexander said early detection saves lives and it is for this reason that the Dominica Cancer Society continues to raise awareness and encourage screening to provide the most suitable protection.

By Sergline Michel