Minister of Public Health Hon. Cornelius de Weever Statement on Breast Awareness Month

"As many of you know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Perhaps less known, until recently, is that the month of September is Cervical Cancer awareness month, two devastating diseases or potentially devastating diseases.


"One journey of courage and determination, I take this moment to honor those who lives have been affected by either disease- those who have succumbed to these diseases, those who continue to fight bravely, and the family and friends who stand by these graceful warriors, providing support while coping with loss and the uncertainty associated with both types of cancer. There is no overstating the painful and difficult journey that is associated with both types of cancer.

"The message today must also include hope and promise- and early detection remains the single greatest weapon in our arsenal to defeat this crippling disease. Both breast cancer and cervical cancer know no demographic lines. I encourage all women AND men to participate in the variety of breast cancer awareness activities that will occur throughout the month in St. Maarten. REALLY take the time to understand more about each disease and what guidelines must be followed for early detection.

"Cancer screenings are just one of the many preventive services that are a part and are the HEART of our Get Checked St. Maarten campaign. There are a multitude of health challenges that can be avoided altogether- with immunizations, annual visits to your doctor, or simple monitoring that can be done at home.

"I encourage ALL people to take charge of their lives and their health and find out more. Early diagnosis is often the key to ensure that treatments are more effective and lives can be saved. While many women get caught up in the routine of their daily lives as wives, mothers, friends and their careers – it is imperative that men do their part and remind their mothers, sisters, daughters and partners to be proactive and get checked. Support them.

"I am sure many of you have noticed a change in my appearance today- and yes, I am grateful to those of you who have noticed that I have shed a few strands of hair.

"In honor of those warriors in my life- family, friends, civil servants in the ministry of public health, social development and labor and those in our community- who have fought and continue to fight these frightening diseases, I have shaved my head -as a symbolic gesture of someone who stands among them as they wage the battle while efforts are made to find the cure.

"I stand here as all of us do or should do, humbled and in awe of their unbelievable strength and courage to fight for their lives.

Thank you."