Education Minister Sanita Bradshaw has confirmed that doctors have discovered breast cancer in its early stages but is optimistic that she will defeat the disease.
“A couple days ago I was contacted by the doctors and I was told that they found cancer cells … the good news is that it is treatable because they have found it early,” said Bradshaw, one of the 30 successful candidates of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) that won that the May 24 general elections.
“I want to give you the assurance we took on the whole (now opposition) Democratic Labour Party and had a landslide and Santia Bradshaw ain’t letting cancer get the better of her,” she told party supporters over the weekend.
Flanked by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and former government minister dame Billie Miller, a cancer survivor, Bradshaw, an attorney, said that cancer was “not a death sentence” and that she was seeking no sympathy.
“I have seen the tears, I have seen the trembling, I have seen the fear, I want you to understand that I am so positive about this, that I hope that I can give you some of my strength.
“I believe that between our local team of doctors and our overseas team of doctors I am in good hands and I know that the prayers that have gone up for me and are going up for me are going to stand me in good stead,” she said.
Bradshaw said she now had the responsibility “to be the voice of men and women and families who are going through similar issues to be able to let you know that even as a servant of the public that we too fall down and be picked back up”.
Dame Billie, a former deputy prime minister reiterated that breast cancer need not be a death sentence, telling the audience, “you have to have a steady sense of superiority over it, you absolutely have to.”
Prime Minister Mottley praised Bradshaw for her “extraordinary display of courage” and supported the minister’s intention to stay at her post.
“Santhia is going to be able to function normally for most of time and on those days when she can’t the rest of us will step in.
“You Santia shall not walk alone… and I have come to give that commitment to the people of St Michael South East as well,” Prime Minister Mottley added.
Late last week, the coordinator of the Breast Screening Programme of the Breast Cancer Society, Dr Shirley Jhagroo, said more women were being diagnosed with the disease, the number one killer of Barbadian women.
Dr. Jhagroo notes that breast cancer is not only the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Barbadian women, but it's also the number one cause of cancer-related deaths in that group.
She therefore hopes the number of clients will continue to rise.
The exact number of Barbadian women being diagnosed with breast cancer annually is uncertain.
However, figures officials do have from at least two sources, suggest an increase in the number of cases.
That's according to medical co-ordinator of the Barbados Cancer Society's breast screening programme, Dr. Shirley Jhagroo.
Sharika Griffith has that story.