2625 Mercy Lane, Belize City (501) 223-0922 /(501) 610-5293

The Belize Cancer Society congratulates Professor Sir Trevor Hassel, President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition, on his appointment as a member a Policy Advisory Group created prestigious organization-The World Cancer Research Fund. The BCS is a member of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and President Laura Tucker-Longsworth is a Director on the Board of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition.

HCC President Professor Sir Trevor Hassell joined the recently formed World Cancer Research Fund International High-Level Policy Advisory Group. This group has been formed to help advise on how WCRFI can effectively meet the evidence needs of the global policymaking community in developing and implementing policy for cancer and non-communicable disease prevention. The high-level Group comprises experts from government, academia and civil society from Australia, Barbados, Canada, Malaysia, Mexico, Norway, South Africa, the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as observers from the World Health Organization and the Union for International Cancer Control.

The Policy Advisory Group will provide advice on how WCRFI can best interpret and communicate the evidence for policy, produce effective policy outputs and identify relationships and alliances across government, civil society and elsewhere to enhance their policy impact. This process for updating policy evidence is conceptually similar to their Continuous Update Project for science (HCC Press Release)

Cancer Control - NOT BEYOND US!

Press Release

The Belize Cancer Society joins local, international and regional partners in observing World Cancer Day 2015 which is being observed under the theme: Cancer Control-NOT BEYOND US. World Cancer Day is a global initiative that seeks to unite the world in the global fight against cancer.

Worldwide, there are approximately 14 million new cases and 8.2 million cancer deaths occurring annually, with over 50 percent occurring in less developed regions of the world. It is projected that by the end of 2025, 19.3 million new cancer cases and 11.4 million cancer deaths will occur, with the greater burden of the disease occurring in low and middle-income countries. In Latin America and the Caribbean, over 1.1 million new cancer cases and 600,000 cancer deaths occur annually. Leading cancers affecting the region are prostate cancer in men with breast and cervical cancers in women.

In Belize, 10 percent of all deaths are attributable to cancers, with a large percentage of cancer deaths caused by cancers that can be controlled through primary and secondary interventions. Similar to countries in the Caribbean and Central America, the leading cancers for men are prostate, colon and lung cancers. For women, cancers of the cervix, breast and colon are leading causes of cancer deaths. Emerging data suggests that two new childhood cancer diagnoses are made monthly in Belize.

The World Cancer Declaration (2013), calls on government leaders and policy-makers to significantly reduce cancer burden, promote greater equity in terms of access to cancer control services and integrate cancer control into the development agenda of their countries. The goal of these actions is to reduce premature deaths from cancer and improve the quality of life and cancer survival rates for those affected. In order to achieve this goal, key targets must be achieved by 2025:

  • Strengthen health systems that deliver cancer prevention and care services;
  • Improve access to essential cancer medicines and technologies;
  • Reduce the financial toll of cancer on individuals, families and economies;
  • Promote an enabling environment for healthy living in our communities;
  • Urge governments to invest in health systems that support healthy lives;
  • Raise awareness about cancer among communities, health professionals and policy makers;
  • Integrate early detection and screening into health systems;
  • Invest in a skilled workforce to deliver early detection and treatment;
  • Empower individuals, and foster communities and health systems to support activities that can lead to the highest quality of life; and
  • Ensure access to high quality palliative care with attention to pain control.

The Belize Cancer Society assures the public that advocacy efforts have been intensified to address all strategies that are necessary to reduce the burden of cancer in Belize. We call on the Government of Belize, the Ministry of Health, other key stakeholders and particularly the citizens of Belize to join us in our struggle to ensure that a comprehensive cancer control program becomes an integral part of public health services offered by the Ministry of Health. We know that Cancer Control is NOT Beyond Us! We know what we need to do! Can we just get the work done?

Laura Tucker-Longsworth MSN. RN.

President, Belize Cancer Society

2625 Mercy Lane

Belize City, Belize.

Tel. 223-0922

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

End of Press Release


Cancer Awareness Month, May 2014.

Cancer Awareness Month 2014, is being observed by the Belize Cancer Society (BCS) throughout the month of May under the theme, "Cancer Facts Can Save Lives-Power Up!" In Belize City, activities were launched on May 4th with a Church Service which was held at the St. Mary's Church and officiated by Canon Leroy Flowers. Cancer Survivor Ms. Sharon Baird delivered an inspirational testimony on her spiritual journey during critical periods of cancer treatment.
Highlights of the month's activities are the visit of Professor Sir Trevor Hassell of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition May 7th-9th, a Health Care Symposium for Health Professionals on May 28th, and the Annual Cancer Walk which will be held on May 31, 2014. Educational sessions, community outreach activities and media presentations will be held by BCS branches throughout the country.
Cancer awareness month is intended to symbolically unite the community in the fight against cancer. A key goal is to eliminate misconceptions about cancer and educate the public on cancer prevention and control strategies. The Belize Cancer Society endorses global and regional initiatives designed to prevent and control cancer. We invite the Belizean Community, Government and Non-Governmental Organizations, Partners in health, those affected by cancer and their families, and other institutions to support the work of the Belize Cancer Society.

Cancer Facts:

  • In 2008, global estimates of cancer were 12.4 million with over 7.6 million deaths. A large proportion occurred in low and middle income countries. With an expected one per cent increase per year, it is projected that by 2030 the cancer burden will increase to 26.4 million new cases of cancer and 17.0 million cancer deaths annually (IARC, 2008).
  • In Latin America and the Caribbean America cancer is the second leading cause of death, with an estimated 480,000 deaths due to cancer in 2005 and overall cancer mortality rate of 107/100,000 (PAHO, 2008).
  • In the Caribbean breast cancer has been increasing with devastating increases in mortality rates in women in the Caribbean. Cervical cancer rates have also been increasing in the Caribbean with rates in the year 2000 of 35 per 100,000 populations which is said to be three times high than rates in North America (PAHO/WHO, 2011).
  • The highest rates of prostate cancer in the Caribbean are said to occur in Barbados with 55 per 100,000 and Belize with a rate of 35 per 100,000 (PAHO/WHO, 2011).
  • In Belize for the period 2007-2011 there were a total of 857 cancer deaths. Almost half of these, 418/857 (48.8%), occurred in persons less than 65 years of age-the active population. Males and females are equally affected in terms of mortality, with different forms of cancer, accounting for 436 (51%) and 421 (49%) of cancer deaths respectively (MOH, 2013).
  • In Belize, cancer of the cervix, breast, colorectal, and reproductive tract cancers are the most common cancers in women. Twenty seven percent of cases of cervical cancer were reportedly at Stage II at the time of diagnosis. Similarly, 29 percent of cases of breast cancer were at Stage III at the time of diagnosis.
  • For men, prostate, lung, stomach and colorectal cancers are the commonest cancers. Men and women are affected by other cancers of the digestive tract, lymph and blood systems.
  • Scientific evidence supports the claim that apart from genetic influences and other unknown causes of cancer, 80 per cent of all cancers are attributable to environmental, dietary, social and cultural and environmental risk factors namely: tobacco use, exposure to second hand smoke, diets in high in fat, processed foods, sedentary lifestyle, obesity, alcohol abuse and other factors.
  • Cancer can be a difficult topic to address, particularly in some cultures and settings. Dealing with the disease openly, can improve outcomes at an individual, community and policy level.
  • Early detection of cancer can result in successful treatment, improvement in quality of life and increases chances for survival.
  • There is a lot that can be done at the individual, community and policy levels. With the right strategies a third of the most common cancers can be prevented.
  • All people have the right to access proven and effective cancer treatments including medication for cancer pain, and other cancer care services.

Press Release

The Belize Cancer Society
May 6, 2014.

Professor Sir Trevor A. Hassell KA., MBBS, FRCP, FACC arrives in Belize on May 7th, 2014 to visit the Belize Cancer Society. Professor Hassell is Adjunct Professor of Medicine, University of the West Indies, Barbados, and Honorary Consultant Physician and Cardiologist, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Barbados and is the Barbados Special Envoy for Chronic Diseases. He is Chairman of the National Commission for Chronic Non Communicable Diseases. Professor Hassell was recently appointed to the Order of Barbados as a Knight of St. Andrew in recognition of his outstanding contribution to the medical profession.

Professor Hassell has held posts that include Vice President of the World Heart Federation, President of the InterAmerican Heart Foundation, and President, Caribbean Cardiac Society. He has been involved in community detection and control of hypertension, and rheumatic fever prophylaxis programmes, and has developed national programmes for the provision of comprehensive cardiovascular care, including the development of community based primary prevention cardiovascular, healthy lifestyle and wellness programmes. He plays a leading role locally, regionally and internationally in efforts aimed at slowing the pandemic of chronic non communicable diseases.
He is President of the Healthy Caribbean Coalition (HCC): a civil society network for combating chronic diseases, and Chairman of the Advisory Committee of the Chronic Disease Research Centre, UWI. The HCC is playing a key role in bringing Caribbean Cancer Organizations together to strengthen their capacity to utilize evidence-based strategies that can reduce NCDs and cancer deaths by 25% by 2025. Through funds provided by the Healthy Caribbean Coalition and Direct Aid-Australia, the Belize Cancer Society has launched an "End Cervical Cancer Petition," conducted cervical cancer education and PAP campaigns, sensitized the media on non-communicable diseases and produced cervical cancer brochures and posters and produced a Position Statement o HPV vaccines.

During his visit to Belize, Professor Sir Trevor Hassell who is accompanied by HCC's Manager- Ms. Maisha Hutton, will meet with the Honourable Prime Minister, Special Envoy for Women and Children, PAHO/WHO Representative, the Diabetes Association, key officials in health related agencies and the media. The Belize Cancer Society is pleased to host their esteemed visitors on the occasion of Cancer Awareness Month which is being observed throughout the month of May.
Cancer Month, May 2014: "Cancer Facts Can Save Lives: Power UP!

Juliet Orosco Soberanis Cancer Centre
2625 Mercy lane
PO Box 1582
Belize City, Belize
Tel/Fax: 223-0922
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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