Sep 23, 2022 Letters
Fall (Autumn) is finally here in the Northern Hemisphere which includes Guyana. It’s the period of transitioning from life to death for many plants, animals, insects and the weak. Winter is around the corner. Our creepy crawlers in the Amazon fear well even in the change of season, killed quite a few snakes in Providence, they were Warriors.
In 2020 during the recount, I had the opportunity to meet Dr. Frank Anthony (our Minister of Health), we were both part of the recount and tabulation, the Critic was there also. Not knowing Dr. Ali well, I teased Frank why he was not the party nominee for President (PPP), he smiled but never answered the question. I found him to be a nice and affable Guy. I was a member of one of the small parties.
I spent most of 2019, 2020 and part of 2021 residing in Providence Guyana. I am not a medical doctor, but a well trained Afro Guyanese Technologist. Something kept stunning me time and again. In technology, we look for patterns and follow, repeat, or innovate them since it’s what grant us success in our trade.
What was most shocking in my intimate discourse with over 40 women (between the ages of 21 and 45), some married, some not, was the pain, bloating, excessive bleeding and the diagnosis most have of “Fibrosis”, “Ovarian” or some form of “cervical” diagnosis. It affects all races in Guyana, but seems more prevalent with Afro Guyanese women and Amerindians. My analysis was random, so please don’t hold me accountable. Though I was in GT, most were from Linden or Northwest, significant mining communities in the past. Also some were from Georgetown but could not have children.
I met one young woman at the Georgetown Hospital seeking my assistance for her 11 year old daughter diagnosed with cervical cancer, from the Northwest, I confirmed her diagnosis with her doctor! Some 10% of the women I met had children, but many could not. I guess being a politician at the time, some thought I had a solution or could help. Many women suffered between 8 to 14 days each month. Only to contemplate what’s coming the next 14 days. Most were diagnosed with Fibroids by Guyanese local doctors.
Dr. Anthony, there seems to be an epidemic of sizeable proportion in Guyana with a significant percentage of our women, most don’t openly speak about it, but take their monthly (blows) regimen of Panadol or bush remedy. Most husbands or significant other don’t really understand and some pursue a spare tyre on the side as an alternative. Women are hesitant to speak about it, since it is a hidden secret their mothers suffered from, hence why complain.
I laud the progress of the HPV vaccine initiative in Guyana; however, for many it’s too late. The HPV vaccine works best before a woman becomes sexually active not after the fact. We need to dig a bit deeper however, is it environmental, communicable or inherited. Let’s push a bit harder on the PAHO and the WHO for additional assistance. I am hoping it’s not our water, or mining activities contributing to this. Clearly, it’s not related to Exxon activities, I am referring to activities before that. There are many studies out there from the WHO, but space would not allow me to regurgitate.
I know of 6 women migrating from Guyana to the USA and dying within 2 years (42 years or younger), their Uterus cancer had metastasized, spread far to liver, lungs. Most doctors in the USA and Canada assume annual gynaecological exams were conducted and initially misdiagnoses the onset of cancer. Women also need to shoulder some responsibility. Gynaecological care should be at least an annual event during child bearing age, not only when there is a problem, go get a semi-annual checkup.
Most women in Guyana are not familiar with the Johnson baby powder dilemma (settlement), where billions of dollars have been set aside in the USA, since it’s deemed to be a precursor or cause for ovarian, uterine cancer. Remember when you were small, mama liked to sprinkle you down there with the white sweet smelling powder? Nah only Mama will remember. It is deemed now to have caused many female cancers. Get a good lawyer worth his salt and file a lawsuit, or our AG (Anil) can file a class action for all the women in Guyana. We cannot sleep on the bench.
Any woman with very excessive or irregular bleeding (stage 1, 2 onset of cancer), get to your doctor, save your life. Then go to a good lawyer and get Johnson and Johnson to cover your medical expenses and get compensated.
In closing, I ask doctors of good moral repute in Guyana to consider the early onset (diagnosis) of Uterus/Ovarian cancer. I am not a doctor, but well informed of the consequences for women, most of us men overlook.
Everton D. Morris
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