Premier urges people to change their diet

| 04/02/2016 | 29 Comments

Cayman News Service(CNS): The country’s leader is urging Caymanians to give up heavy cake and start exercising. As the Cayman Islands joined the global community in marking World Cancer Day Thursday, Premier Alden McLaughlin said that while alcohol and tobacco use are the usual culprits blamed for cancer, obesity, a lack of physical activity and poor diet are also risk factors.

“Unlike our forefathers, we have become a sedentary society and as such cannot continue to eat the heavy starches and breadkind that is so ingrained in our diets. Our forefathers worked the sea and the land. Most of us sit behind desks and the only physical activity we do is going from the office to the car,”  the premier said.

The number of people around the world suffering from cancer is increasing but survival rates are improving as early detection rates and access to treatment improves. Health officials in the UK said this week that the cancer death rates in Britain have fallen by about 10% in the past 10 years. However, as life expectancy increases, the number of people impacted is growing.

There are multiple causes of cancer, but according to the American Cancer Society, about 589,430 Americans die of cancer and around one-third of these deaths are linked to poor diet, physical inactivity and carrying too much weight.

McLaughlin said that there are steps people can take to help ward off the risk of cancer, including screening. “Fortunately, cancer is no longer a dirty word. Today it is something we can talk about openly. Thank goodness the view that cancer cannot be cured and the fears that were once associated with the disease are changing,” he said. “So today, remember the theme of World Cancer Day, ‘We can. I can.’ Because together we can learn how to prevent cancer risks and hopefully one day find a cure.”

One of the tools that government had hoped would help in the war on the disease was the Cancer Registry Law, which was published last year, but the proposal was not welcomed by the community. People opposing the registry saw it as an invasion of privacy rather than a way for doctors and scientists to study the prevalence and types of cancer, the survival rates and reaction to treatment and to understand the local causes or triggers to help improve outcomes.

Plans to bring the legislation to the Legislative Assembly last year were shelved and the register continues to be voluntary. As a result, public health officials are not able to get an accurate picture of the impact of the disease on the Cayman community.

CNS has reached out to the premier and the health ministry and is awaiting a response about the future of the legislation.

HRC: Too much data wanted in cancer law

Cancer charity stresses importance of registry

Almost half of all the cancer deaths in Britain in 2013 were from lung, bowel, breast or prostate cancer. Although the combined death rate for these four cancers had dropped by about 11% over the past 10 years, some other cancers, such as liver and pancreatic, had increased death rates.

“Too many people are still being diagnosed with and dying from cancer, not just here in the UK but around the world.”Cancer Research UK chief executive Sir Harpal Kumar. “Our scientists are developing new tests, surgical and radiotherapy techniques, and drugs,” he said, noting that CRUK was focusing research on how to achieve earlier diagnosis and manage hard-to-treat cancers. “It’s important to celebrate how much things have improved, but also to renew our commitment to saving the lives of more cancer patients.”

Cancer Research UK compiled the cancer death rate data, which was taken from cancer registries in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

World Cancer Day Message 2016 by Premier Alden McLaughlin

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Comments (29)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    Wah ya sayin na, no more tur’ul dinna?

  2. Anonymous says:


  3. Anonymous says:

    How about we just change Alden?

  4. Anonymous says:

    Let’s address the pink elephant in the room and let us know what effects the mosquito spraying has on the human body in a direct or indirect way. I truly don’t know, but I would hope that Government (who should be concerned with keeping the residents of this country safe) would have conducted some serious research. We seem to be able and eager to hire “consultants” and “experts” for all kind of BS, so why not do it here? The number of people in Cayman who have been diagnosed with cancer seems to be quite high and I am sure many people are wondering how come.

    In addition, has anyone done any regular testing of the water in our pipes, and are those facilities who prepare and sell drinking water on Island monitored and tested on a regular basis?

    Finally, as someone else has suggested, perhaps it would make sense to increase the duty on “junk food” and ensure that healthy foods can be afforded by all sections of society.

  5. Anonymous says:

    We don’t know what causes cancer. What we do know is that there are genetic factors that have nothing to do with diet or exercise. There are marathon runners with breast, testicular and a long list of other cancers, etc. Your gym schedule will not apply sunscreen to ward off skin cancer. Are people really this dumb?

  6. Kettle says:

    Thanks Mr Premier, no .more PPM fish fry for me and I’ve eaten my last plate from Kurts Corner. Appreciate the advice

  7. Freedom says:

    How about you stop spraying us with pesticides and releasing GM Zika Mosquitoes!

    Wake Up People

    • Wilma Dias says:

      Yes! Peach! Finally a comment with sense and knowledge!!! I agree! Diet has nothing to do with it! It’s the chemicals that’s being sprayed all Over the island! Premier needs to educate himself! Asap!

  8. Just Sayin' says:

    Yet lard is duty free.

    • Anonymous says:

      AND pizza dough and imported bread.

    • Anonymous says:

      Ohh yeah.. thanks to Dominoes Pizza and Wendys.
      Owned by politicians when they dropped off the duty off pizza dough and icecream for their stores.
      Was duty ever put back on?
      Local bakers want to know.

  9. Anonymous says:

    How can we mr. Premier when you make healthy foods expensive and has made all of the greedy employers wanting their caymanan staff to work late every night?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Now if some of our esteemed leaders could just lose a little neck fat.

  11. Anonymous says:

    And no more turtle either.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Don’t have to give up cassava cake just eat in moderation maybe for special holidays ,but agree with the need for all of us to eat healthy too bad cost of living is so high it’s cheaper to eat unhealthy

  13. Anonymous says:

    Hey Alden

    Raise duties on the bad stuff, lower duties on the good stuff. Stop allowing poverty to be equated with an unhealthy diet.

  14. Anonymous says:

    I feel sorry for anyone that would seek health and dietary advice from our Cabinet. Why would he suggest that developing cancer has any relationship to BMI or breadkind? Was he reading the speech for Heart Disease and Diabetes day? #noclue #cancercured

  15. Anonymous says:

    Cancer prevention in Grand Cayman should stat with the Dump remediation

  16. Anonymous says:

    Going to have to agree with the Premier on this one and commend him for raising it publicly

  17. Anonymous says:

    I think we should change the Honorable Premiers title to Captain Obvious. All those in favor hit thumbs up.

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