Over 200 women screened for breast cancer at SMMC



CAY HILL, Sint Maarten — On Saturday, October 23rd, St. Maarten Medical Center (SMMC) resumed its much-anticipated annual free clinical breast exams with great success. A record-breaking 206 women were screened for breast cancer by SMMC’s Medical Specialists over a six-hour period.

Due to a large number of pre-registrations, Medical Specialists and Nurses from SMMC’s Departments including General Surgery, Gynecology, Cardiology, Radiology, Internal Medicine, the Emergency Room and Urology volunteered their time to assist with the carrying out of the exams.

“We host these events annually as our way to give back to the community by providing men and women the opportunity to be clinically screened for breast and prostate cancer free of charge. This year’s turn-out was the biggest ever in our history of hosting this event as 206 women were screened by Medical Specialists from all departments, assisted by student Doctors of the American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine (AUC)”, said SMMC’s Communications Officer and event organizer Shari de Riggs.

De Riggs continued by saying “It’s extremely encouraging to see all of the women come out and be excited to get checked. For many attendees, this event is something they look forward to every year as an outing with their friends or relatives. For others, it’s an opportunity to receive vital healthcare without having to worry about the cost. This year we also partnered with the Foundations to cover the cost of up to 100 mammograms for uninsured women”.

“We’d like to thank our incredible staff volunteers and our partners; the Ministry of VSA, CPS, Positive Foundation, Elektralytes Foundation, AUC Prime Distributors and FLOW for being a part of this community outreach initiative. We are looking forward to continuing to work with these organizations and foundations to raise awareness and increase action in the fight against various types of cancer and other diseases and illnesses that affect our community”, concluded de Riggs.

“The Positive and Elektralyets Foundations are also grateful to SMMC and its partners for offering the free clinical breast examinations. It was spectacular to see that 206 women embraced the opportunity to get screened and the event was well organized. While the pandemic has challenged our resources it has also dared us all to think outside the box. It has highlighted how important and fragile our health is if we do not take care of ourselves.

any of us may have overlooked getting our annual physical because of the challenges associated with the pandemic, while some of us may have questioned why you should see your doctor for an annual physical exam, if you are feeling generally healthy.  One good reason for checking in with your primary care physician is it can confirm that you have no underlying health risks that need attention. Or an exam may lead to an early-stage diagnosis of some kind, which means you could receive treatment sooner that could lead to better outcomes,” the Foundations’ presidents, Shelly Alphonso and Mercedes “Elektra” van der Waals-Wyatt, remarked.