Mitzy Campbell advocates for better awareness measures in hinterland areas
THIS MONTH makes 19 years since Mitzy Campbell won her battle with breast cancer, and this warrior is advocating for women in the far-flung areas of Guyana to be better educated about the causes and symptoms of breast cancer, to be screened for the disease, and to benefit from proper healthcare.
Mitzy is also hoping that systems can be put in place at all health centres across the country where the health worker can ask standard questions to determine whether a patient needs to be screened for cancer or needs treatment to fight the disease.
“At the health centres, if certain questions are being asked it is not about finding out your personal business but pointed questions must be asked for early detection,” Mitzy told the Pepperpot Magazine.
She told the Guyana Chronicle that it is her hope that everyone who is diagnosed with cancer survives the disease and they must tell themselves they want to live. She said that it is this type of thinking that got her this far.
Mitzy said it is the will to survive and one must cling to hope that they will get through the ordeal of battling cancer. “Often when someone finds out they have cancer the next question is ‘would I die?’ and you must tell yourself I will survive because with the right care and treatment your chances of survival is great,” she said.
Mitzy related that it was not an easy road to recovery and her aim is to assist others especially women in the far-fetched areas in Guyana, for them to get early treatment. “It is not about me anymore, my story is out there. It has been told many times but education and awareness are necessary for others, because if you do not know you have cancer your chances of survival are minimal,” she said.
Mitzy was one of several persons who bravely shared their stories about how cancer has affected their lives at the launch of GTT’s Pinktober on September 28.
She told the Pepperpot Magazine that fighting the disease is not a simple task but it is possible since she did it and others can do it too.
Mitzy is the Public Relations Officer of the Georgetown Public Hospital Corporation (GPHC) and is fully aware of the implications of cancer and the effects of the disease, which according to her, “literally sucks the life out of you.”
Mitzy is originally from North West District, Region One (Barima-Waini) and watched as the number of women in her family was reduced as a result of cancer.
She is advocating that women in remote locations also benefit from screening and awareness campaigns since early detection of the dreaded disease can save lives.
“I would like for those women to get proper health care as those in Region Four because they do not have a GPHC so to speak, and access to a good hospital isn’t always possible given their location,” Mitzy said.
She is hoping that special visits by health care professionals can be made to provide sensitisation sessions, as well as screening for women in the interior. She believes that these visits could provide these women with information that could assist them to live a healthier life, and encouragement for them to care their bodies and to seek medical intervention at the earliest possible time.
“Often in the hinterland, especially, the areas that are not so accessible by land, women are isolated and cancer deaths are not reported, and in those areas a high percentage of women are cancer patients,” Mitzy said.
She related that cancer is not confined to the boundaries of the city and she is optimistic that women in the hinterland can be reached as well.
“Fighting cancer isn’t easy and without proper medical intervention and support from family it can reduce you to nothing because cancer is a silent killer which is often ignored,” she said.
Having seen firsthand what cancer does to the body and to families, Mitzy did not want to see herself in that position and that is when she reached out and challenged herself to fight the disease after she was diagnosed.