PHILIPSBURG:--- Tina Hamm, an 11-year breast cancer survivor, was the guest speaker at the fourth monthly meeting of the Breast Cancer Support Group held on August 24, 2023. The topic was “The Journey from Loss to Purpose.”
Fueled by her indomitable faith, the lessons Ms. Hamm has learned resonated with the audience and provided invaluable wisdom and inspiration that can be practically applied in various aspects of their daily lives. During her own, as well as others’, eloquent stories of hope and survival, an interactive dialogue was fostered, whereby each attendee shared personal experiences and insights, as well as challenges and stumbling blocks unique to their lives. There was a commonality in the conversation, which humanized each experience in a very meaningful way. Led by Ms. Hamm, the group also participated in a powerful recitation of affirmations that had a positive and immediate impact on everyone. The invaluable takeaway following the two-hour session was that nurturing an environment that facilitates intimate and transparent dialogue in a safe space is precisely the foundation necessary to effectively build a diverse community of refuge for everyone, but an especially vital resource for those still amid their personal battles. Ms. Hamm brought the message home that we are 10% of what happens to us and 90% of how we “choose” to respond, which was very powerful!
Studies have shown that breast cancer support groups offer a wide range of benefits for those who are affected by this disease, some of which include the following:
- n Emotional Support: Support groups provide an environment where individuals can share their fears, anxieties, and concerns without fear of judgment, criticism or ostracization. They help individuals cope with their emotions in a supportive and non-threatening setting, thereby turning patients into social advocates.
- n Shared Experiences: Patients can learn from others who have had similar experiences by exchanging practical advice about coping with symptoms, managing side effects, and navigating the healthcare system. In addition, support groups provide an opportunity to develop meaningful relationships by fostering a sense of community.
- n Vital Caregiver Support: Caregivers can also benefit from support groups as they learn how to better care for their loved ones and confront the stress of aiding someone with cancer. Having other caregivers to draw strength from normalizes some of the feelings of helplessness commonly faced and gives a voice to this vital, yet often misunderstood, part of the experience.
- n Improved Quality of Life: Support groups help patients manage the emotional, spiritual, and physical challenges of cancer, which naturally elevates their quality of life. Overall, support groups provide a sense of comfort, validation, and much-needed hope for survivors of breast cancer, as well as their families and friends.
The Still Beautiful Foundation, a breast cancer survivor advocacy organization whose motto is “Still Beautiful, before, during, and after,” has provided one-on-one support and counseling to individuals affected by breast cancer since its inception. Their collaboration with the Positive Foundation and Elektralyets Foundation, both comprised of breast cancer awareness advocates, is a shared mission to bring breast cancer patients and their communities together in a safe space where they can openly discuss their experiences. The Breast Cancer Support Group was collectively launched by these organizations, and facilitated by Shirley Serbony, for patients, caregivers, and their network on May 25, 2023. The Group meets every fourth Thursday of the month; the next meeting will be held on September 28, 2023, at 7 p.m. at the SFC/R4CR/4C Foundation located on A.T. Illidge Road #60. This community is committed to providing emotional support, peer learning, a reduction in isolation, and an improved quality of life to all those affected by breast cancer. Please spread the word because all are welcome to attend!
Let’s talk about sex and prostate cancer awareness.
Let’s talk about sex, a prostate cancer awareness panel discussion is scheduled for September 1, 2023. Panelists include Dr. Ramos and Dr. Rojas, urologists at the St. Maarten Medical Center, Mr. Michael Ferrier, Mr. Raymond Benjamin, Mr. Gordon Snow, and Mr. Van Grieken, prostate cancer survivors and warriors. The two-hour panel discussion will be held in the conference room of the Government Administration Building Room 1, on Soualiga Road #1, Pond Island Great Bay, and starts at 7 p.m.
The Let’s talk about sex, Prostate Cancer Awareness panel discussion is hosted by the Positive and Elektralyets Foundations in collaboration with Collection Preventative Services (CPS), the Ministry of Public Health, and Benu Pharmacy. An invitation is extended to men on St. Maarten age 40 and older to attend this Let’s talk about sex, prostate cancer awareness panel discussion.
Sex and prostate cancer awareness are two important topics that often go hand in hand. Prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men, and it is crucial to raise awareness about the disease and its potential impact on sexual health.
One important aspect to consider is that prostate cancer treatments, such as surgery, radiation therapy, or hormone therapy, can have an impact on sexual function. These treatments can cause erectile dysfunction or a decrease in libido, which can have a significant impact on a man's sexual life.
It is essential for men diagnosed with prostate cancer to have open discussions with their healthcare providers about the potential impact on their sexual health. Doctors can provide information on the available treatment options and help manage any sexual side effects that may arise.
Additionally, it is crucial for individuals to be aware of the risk factors associated with prostate cancer. Age, family history, and ethnicity are some factors that can increase the likelihood of developing prostate cancer. Regular screenings, such as prostate-specific antigen (PSA) tests, can help detect the disease in its early stages when treatment options are more effective.
Sexual activity can also play a role in prostate cancer prevention. Studies have suggested that regular ejaculation may help reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer. However, more research is needed to fully understand the relationship between sexual activity and prostate health.
The organizers and panelists agree that sex and prostate cancer awareness should be discussed openly to spread knowledge about prevention, early detection, and the potential impact of the disease on sexual health. With its Man up Check UP prostate cancer awareness campaign launched in 2019 with St. Maarten Medical Center, the Positive and Elektralyets Foundations believe that by promoting education and breaking the stigma surrounding prostate cancer, they can encourage more men to start the conversation and seek screenings, which will lead to better outcomes and improved quality of life for men in St. Maarten community.
September is National Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and in recognition of this, the Positive and Elektralyets Foundations have partnered with CIBC First Caribbean Bank, Kooyman, Collective Prevention Services (CPS), St. Maarten Medical Center, and St. Maarten Laboratory Services for more prostate cancer awareness events during the remainder of the month.
September 2, - Hike for the Cure, at Bellevue Estate at 5 am – CIBC First Caribbean Bank. It is a free event, but donations are accepted.
September 16 – Men’s Night Out – Kooyman at 6.30 pm – Kooyman, CPS. It is a free event with several fun and informative opportunities for men.
September 23 – Men’s Health Screening at St. Maarten Medical Center – 9 a.m. It is a free event.