Hospiten Jamaica took a novel approach to encourage Jamaican women to undergo mammograms for early detection of breast cancer with a Pink Tea Party at the Rose Hall-based facility on Tuesday.
The very intimate setting saw four women from Montego Bay, led by Chamber of Commerce President Janet Silvera, participating in the all-pink soirée, which preceded the breast cancer screening sessions.
The event coincided with the date of Hospiten’s fifth anniversary of operation in Jamaica and 50th anniversary of overall operation, and according to commercial director for the private hospital, Chevaughne Miller, it is one of several of the organisation’s outreach activities during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, aimed at making women comfortable ahead of undergoing the screening procedure.
“We decided to do a pink tea party to inspire women to get tested. We know it’s very important for women to be tested for breast cancer and there is a fear factor. I am not at the age to be tested, but I am fully aware of the importance because we have all had family members that have passed away from some form of cancer,” Miller said.
“Our thought process was, ‘Why not make it fun? Why not make it a nice experience? Why not treat the ladies and change your mindset of getting tested’,” she explained.
She emphasised the importance of creating a pleasurable experience to alleviate anxiety in preparation for the procedure, as many women shy away from doing mammograms due to a phobia of hospitals and medical processes.
“So we are encouraging ladies, as you would go out to have drinks, go to the movies, go to a party, go to church, or whatever it is that is a social event for you, to make it somewhat of a social event; get together with your girlfriends, your sisters, your family members, whomever it is, and go and get tested,” Miller said.
She said the international hospital chain, in celebration of its 50th anniversary, is offering a 50 per cent discount on mammograms and will be participating in workshops in communities, churches and hotels, to teach women to do breast self-examinations during October and November.
IMPORTANCE OF SELF-SCREENING
Silvera said the importance of screening for breast cancer for women over 50 must be continuously emphasised.
“As a woman who is over 50, and having done my last mammogram at this hospital, and the type of treatment I was given, I wanted to come back. So today I decided that I would bring along with me three friends,” she said.
The quartet also included Nina Peters of JN Bank, Gabrielle Lee of Allied Insurance Brokers, and Silvera’s childhood friend, Kathlyn Reid.
Lee and Reid also stressed the importance of doing mammograms annually, particularly after age 50, and said they jumped at the opportunity to get involved in a new experience which helped to lessen their anxiety.
Peters, who was the first candidate to undergo screening, said the tea party setting helped to make her feel comfortable and very relaxed ahead of the procedure.
“I am a woman over 40, and certainly it is something I know a lot of women are scared of doing. I am happy to be here; my guard is down because of the setting as well. People talk about a lot of pain but I think that is a myth as well. The earlier we detect anything at all, is the best for us,” Peters said.