Our health is more than once a year during October walk, run and wearing pink. It is supporting families who may have lost a loved one, still battling, or survived and to raise more funds for research to find a cure.When countless gathered from across the globe from all races, cultures and economic status to educate the public through multiple awareness platforms, it is not about women power-grabbing to combat sexual deviance as one friend expressed, but to eliminate a silent killer called, “Breast Cancer, and men get it too.”
Cancer is a personal issue and not a water cooler conversation and consequently, I believe more men must begin to form a bond to educate themselves about their medical problems. And this issue does not need to wait until a famous person comes forward to take note of our bodies.
When the “Me-Too” movement against sexual harassment and assaults gained traction, numerous men lost their powerful positions, some went silent and few were convicted for bad behavior. Although some denied and minimized their actions; what this topic has done, is to create awareness.
But irrespective of the arguments made; “awareness” is key in any society to develop new road maps for a better standard of living.
Some patients even travelled abroad for treatment, but sadly, sometimes the disease has already reached its final stage. Putting the stigma to rest, just because men do not wear a bra or have breasts like women, that does not eliminate men from getting breast cancer.
It is a malignant tumor that starts from cells of the breast according to medical experts. “A malignant tumor is a group of cancer cells that may grow into (invade) surrounding tissues or spread (metastasize) to distant areas of the body.” Sadly, by simply replacing “Women” and pink with the word “Men”, especially black men along these shores, other social issues often dominate such as gender equality, unemployment rate, masculinity, tolerance, sexuality or criminal justice topics appears.
I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on television, or a celebrity who was diagnosed with this disease to influence a doctor’s visit in the next 24 hours. The medical profession classifies breast cancer symptoms as, “swelling of nipples, discharge, rashes around the nipple and millions of cells and hormones found in boys’ and girls’ during puberty, swelling of the chest area, or lymph nodes under the arms.”According to the International Journal of Caring Science and other leading oncologic care studies, “males are at lower risk than women for breast cancer, but it remains high, especially for men with a history of testicular disease, and ones with a genetic predisposition, radiation, excessive alcohol use, liver disease, and obesity.”
The complexity of male health in the Caribbean region, and other poor and developing countries can be lost in the warm smile, cool and lay-back vibes that greets visitors and family, but quietly, tackling men breast cancer, and other medical issues remain a taboo woven in social stratification, illiteracy and disparities.
Even a constitutional amendment to mandate a medical check-up would not change some ideology since the colonization period on these islands. Additionally, the socialization process in these male-dominant cultures, showing weakness is far-fetched.
And that belief is a dangerous weapon against one’s health issues, as beneath that tough-guy image, he needs your support. Not many men beyond these shores would openly admit that they relied on Viagra for sexual dysfunction because of self-confidence as important as his influence
This attitude sometimes forces some from visiting even women doctors or to participate in pink or a walk to bring more awareness. Check-Up: Scholars noted that cancer was seen and considered largely as a “women’s disease which affected their women parts, the breast, and womb”.
Although male breast cancer is very rare, reports have shown that around 350 men diagnosed each year and it is also affecting younger men and not only men between ages 60 and 70. Early detection remains the key and basic examinations can potentially save lives.
American Cancer Society list a few basic questions your doctors should be asking:
The International Laboratory Accreditation Cooperation (ILAC) has developed standards that many countries have adopted and some of these rural facilities could use closer oversights along these shores in the delivery of competence services.
Revictimization: The failure to recognize professional limitations from having the correct medical equipment to well-trained staff is important. And the idea of upfront payments before one can be admitted must be addressed.The lack of accountability can discourage others to seek medical attention to build confidence for those who are still in the shadow.
Equally important, an attestation that the correct treatment is being administered should be more important than profit as personal ethics should not conflict with care.
How many patients’ life savings have been depleted by years of medical office visits without the correct answer?
Was its cancer, heart attack, malpractice, diabetes, high blood pressure, or the prescribed medicine that have created an addiction that may have led to the cause of death and not what is recorded on many death certificates.
Misdiagnosis or delayed treatment only creates more questions when one dies. Few people I have spoken with about medical screening argued that distrust and accountability are like the high rate of unsolved crimes from the lack of resources to getting accurate referrals.“And if some medical emergencies can defy logic due to the long waiting period to be seen or admitted for treatment why bother to show up. ”
These patients often try alternative medicine, not only for breast cancer but other diseases. To stop these medical erosions, it starts with an accurate, and truthful analysis to make sure they have the correct answers.
Sadly, medical treatment and access to proper healthcare remain a wall between the haves vs. the have nots. The lack of social obligation by several elected leaders whose economic agenda in all political parties have failed to confer inadequacies, under-funding of critical facilities only added more burden
The Centers for Disease and Control (CDC) report that blacks have a higher rate of being affected by this disease including other cancers.
It is time that more men pause and take note of their health, form a brotherhood, schedule an appointment with a doctor knowledgeable, and embrace even if today’s check will be done by a woman doctor.
Awareness: Men’s health, in general, will continue to have challenges navigating socio-economic divide, taboo, disparities distrust and access, and breast cancer is not the only potential medical check should be on your list this year:
Today there several men’s organizations that are supporting men’s fight against breast cancer and other diseases that can provide a platform to engage and not isolate from fear. Despite the barriers they are still few excellent physicians tucked away in these small communities that may be limited due to resources, but they still play an important role.
Let the doctor acknowledge your concerns even if it only creates a psychological intervention until the next exam. Maybe the next Father’s Day gift should be to take a loved one to the doctor.This October and beyond, I urge people to take a stand for good health: Colon cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, mental disorder, and other illnesses.
What happened to him?
I am not a medical doctor, nor do I play one on television, but critical analysis is needed for improvement especially in poor rural areas.
It is their responsibility to not only have an up-to date office with the technology to better diagnose symptoms, also a well-trained staff such as an educated pharmacist as studies have shown will improve the safety of medication.
Furthermore, discuss findings with patient and family that includes treatment plan even if it may not work. They are significant dissimilarities in these medical centers from the lack of resources, and categorically inadequate skilled staff.
And this creates more challenges concerning practice and ethical standard in medicine.
It would be a good practice that physicians, medical examiners, corners offices are all in agreement as to the real cause of one’s death.
Doctors must hold one another to high standards as best practice suggested in the medical profession.
Equally important, adapting to the cultural shift and embracing younger doctors especially females as studies have shown an increase in the number of women entering the medical field.
Now what happen to Johnny?
It is simply not what time he died on a bench waiting for over 8 hours to see a doctor, but what was the actual cause of his death?
This in-explainable death represents a common medical “guessing pattern” that have caused severe financial, emotional, and physical pains for families.
With little-known surrounding this death, the funeral had to be placed on hold because the doctor was away and the body could not be released to be prepared for burial.
The delay continued because only one pathologist serving several parishes in a country with about three million people.
An autopsy can provide critical-clinical finding that the family may use as a history to protect future health.
“Was he vomiting before he arrived?” a question asked.
“Johnny complained about his stomach each time he visited the doctor, and this was about the third time in two years”, the family replied.
There were no follow-up visits, or call to see if the last prescribed medication helped.
Today, the real cause of death still unknown, but the family had to accept what was recorded on the death certificate.
He died from “stomach cancer.”
“If he was not treated for cancer, what led to this conclusion?
Where is his doctor to ask follow-up questions, and to validate his medical records?
How do you asked for an investigation when you cannot even afford the basic prescriptions?
These final conclusions are simply “poor prognosis”
Decision fatigue cannot answer thousands of dollars spent on recommended tests, prescriptions, and more test-to-test to the result of that previous test, funded by family members abroad.
Johnny’s story is not unique, because there are other families who return to check up onloves admitted for treatment, and only to be sent to a morgue after they have been searching for hours.
More pathologists are needed and even second opinion would have built confidence and credibility.
There are local doctors providing critical education and healthcare tucked away in a plaza, but more collaboration and oversights is needed. Even sending patients off with a letter often led to unwanted additional financial burden.
If some community doctors do not specialize in certain area of medicine, there needs to be referrals rather than ordering more test that amount to financial gains.
These failures are simply a lack of humans’ rights, patient welfare, and social responsibility as many scholars have noted for a good medical system.
What would Johnny’s file have shown: Did they only saw his mental illness and used that to dictate the level of attention.
Did anyone know that he was once a public servant, a police officer.
Was he prescribed the right pain killers, or was it based on the ability to pay?
And if prescriptions being written may have kickbacks to pharmaceutical companies, who is there to monitor inappropriate use. Often prescribed painkillers as studies have shown has led to addiction and not cure for the actual symptoms.
Many government health-centres seems to only have limited resources for vulnerable groups. After Johnny was first treated and sent home no one really knows what happen.
Without any medical insurance, certain status in life, and if society deemed one as a (mad -man) someone with a mental illness, that can create additional barriers.The value some place on human lives; especially the poor people many sick individuals put off seeing a doctor, and do not get required test
Failure to engender community trust
Johnny could not receive blood, until someone from the family or anyone else gave in advance. This concept is like an eye for an eye, and you are out of luck if no one stand in for your well-being.
One argues that people seldom give blood as a volunteer, or become an organ donor and only for a price while others see it as a taboo routed in distrust of the medical system. I get it! that the medical practice must implement some rules to have reserves for others.
Cultural belief and stigma also remain an issue for some; where an erectile dysfunction, chronic chest pain, or an unusual lump on one’s body can be cured from homemade drink, or alternative medicine.
There is still skepticism of government funded medication or contribution from international health organizations. To some it is an experimental drug even as it helps to minimize medical risks.
Medical education is critical and its starts in the school system
Where are the political leaders, and minister of health?
Many have seen promises of better overall health care during an election season, but after it appears nothing has changed.
Yes, people die in America, Canada, Cuba, and England as some argues that they have long waiting period and a better medical system.
However, the chance of a person dying on a bench waiting on a doctor for 8 hours is thin. No one also expect countries such as; Jamaica, Guyana, Trinidad, Bahamas, Dominica Republic to name a few with economic struggles to operate on the same level in some key areas.
But what this death represent is access to better health care between the haves and the have nots.
Doctors and nurses are still making a difference and over worked and maybe underpaid.
Many of whom studied abroad and returned, but the “Brain Drain” effect ‘including nurses continues to play a major role in the emigration of these highly-skilled professionals.
Even well-off politicians who have died in the U.S. Canada or England while seeking treatment.
If they invested and trusted their own local medical system often promoted for votes, why would they leave for care when they become sick?
Empathy: Regardless of one’s socio-economic background, mental issues, or pre-existing conditions, all should be given the same medical attention such as a local popular sporting event.
A first-class image with embryonic operation to address medical emergencies in an ever-widen economic inequality gap is problematic.
Far too often a funeral band played, food served, but after everyone leaves, families still wants closure.
It seems many communities are becoming immune to these issues.
A sexual assault alarm: Stuck in traffic on a commuter bus one evening heading home from work, I came across an article published on October 2, 2018, by the Detroit Free Press about two women raped in Jamaica at an exclusive hotel by an employee hired few days earlier. He crawled up a balcony, armed with a handgun; he entered their hotel room and raped them both. These victims fought back, and he was shot in the arm with his own weapon, he was arrested when he sought medical attention at a local hospital who alerted law enforcement.
This sexual predator was once brought in for questioning in other suspected rape cases in another parish by local law enforcement, but managed to escape on foot. This search went cold and was called off like many others before.
Some argued that it is not a Caribbean problem alone or an isolated incident or misunderstanding.
In fact, this is a form of minimization, shame, guilt and hopelessness to deflect from the negative press, as the Caribbean region continues to struggle to maintain a firm grip sexual violence.In many rape cases studies have shown, some believe that she must have asked for it, flirting, dressing provocatively or being promiscuous, and was out outside the safety of their homes.
Rape is simply an unlawful sexual activity carried out forcefully against someone’s will regardless of locatio
This mentality silences victims from coming forward, and further isolates the seriousness of sexual assault crimes along these beautiful shores that necessitates responsiveness while holding offenders accountable.
The focus, especially in resorts, is simply awareness, adequate services, and a safe space for victims.
Between 25 to 35 percent of women will be raped at some point and many choose not to come forward; especially the younger generation, some studies have shown.
Maybe new welcome packages for all visitors should have an insert on how to handle sexual assaults or suspicion, and unwanted behaviour.
Local managers and human resources must now re-evaluate their hiring policies and practices, although it is difficult to know these predators’ intent.
The institutional barriers: This recent global case will not change the island immediately. Despite tough laws that hold offenders accountable on these islands, after sentencing could use an upgrade to reduce the chance of re-offending, and especially in relation to victims’ rights
Many rural courts lack resources even to order an assessment from experts to diagnose to further treat these dangerous offenders.
Concerns about cases held for long periods before trial while some predators are released on bail, free to move like the ocean, only to target victims and re-offend.
Reporting rape or even domestic violence incidents is sometimes not handled in the right way.
Victims often spend several hours at police stations to file an incident, and any chance to collect DNA evidence if equipped quickly diminishes.Specialized training to handle sensitive cases is still an issue. Some victims’ interviews are conducted in the open. Poorly run and underfunded medical systems tend to lack the skills or authority to guide when one comes forward.
Furthermore, overcoming unrealistic expectation of suspicion because a victim may have had a relationship with the perpetrators.
In an earlier report, it talked about one foreign student on a study abroad program was sexually assaulted and robbed, only to be brought to the airport in her pajamas and covered in dried blood after spending nine hours at a hospital
These victims face a long-term physical and emotional trauma, confusion, anger, suspicion, anxiety, and the negative perception that often follows.
There is still a wide debate between scholars and the role that masculinity and patriarchy play in these communities. Others point to colonialism, in which rape was a common practice of enslaved women carried over.
Although the Atlantic slave trade that brought millions of African slaves to the region remains a dark period and a complicated issue, these islands today are far more educated and not delimited.
Is it an aspect of the cultural music sexualized dance?
These islands obligation: What numbers of rape cases in the region resulted in a conviction, dismissal or unsolved?
Today several women still on these islands or ones who migrated have similar stories, but decided to remain silent.
The Caribbean region and its gated resorts are now at a crossroad to manage complaints promptly and effectively. To solve these issues, requires awareness, training, and accountability.
Law enforcement cannot do it alone, they too lack resources to track and solve these criminal cases.
Sadly, this story will be lost and over half-a-million will arrive again for a vacation on these islands, but it has opened a much-needed awareness and conversation along these shores.
In 2014, another report talked about a woman who was gang raped at the Sandals Resort in The Bahamas, and others sexually assaulted.
Additional reports out of Mexico, where about 170 tourists experienced illness, and blackouts in which offenders used date rape drugs, and tainted alcohol in drinks.
Several reports have noted that over 70 Americans have been sexually assaulted in Jamaica in a seven-year period.
The US embassy also warned of sexual assaults that occurred in residence hotels rooms, casinos, and cruise ships.
The game changer: Today’s “Me-Too Movement” has given victims a platform to come forward and talk about their bad experiences of powerful men who have behaved badly.
And although few men lost their jobs and faced criminal charges; several organizations survived and the culture remains.
Since this incident unfolded in Jamaica, others began to talk about their own past experiences at some of these 5-star hotels.
These stories, for decades, were kept in the dark because they were teenagers, and were scared to ruin their parent’s vacation.
What if these hotels were to be treated like a college campus where posters, and emergency buttons for awareness where studies have shown that almost 28 percent of college students surveyed reported some form of unwanted sexual contact.
There are also other victims of rape and murders from the gay and lesbian community. These cases are up against a high tide because many still see these same sex relationships as a sin.
I am also concerned about the ones who have not come forward, a high-school student, an employee whose life depends on that income, seeing these sexual predators daily in a hostile environment, but staying silent because of fear.
Time for a discussion: Masculinity should not be targeted as rapist. People of African descent have enough burdens simply because of the variation in one’s skin colour.
On the other hand, if as reported Jamaica ranked with Egypt and Morocco as of one of the most dangerous countries for women, selective amnesia by some postings on social media does not help victims.
This issue must be given that same importance not only when it threatens the hotel industry revenue.
Researching sexual assaults is critical. The violence must be recorded and tracked in the community not only for treatment, but also the victim’s safety.
Many predators are hard to detect because they can be some of the nicest and most well-groomed people, and this behaviour cannot be cured by a trip to a few Sunday sermons.
Sexual predators come in all forms: A perverted doctor who is more interested his patients’ underwear than the basic examination or a teacher, who engages and targets a young student’s vulnerability is just as dangerous as one who broke down a window for entry.Men’s sexual violence is a wish to exert power over women, as feminist movements noted. However, these people need treatment and close monitoring to cut the danger they pose to society.
I consider myself one of the unofficial marketing managers who have recommended others to the region for vacation and, when they asked about safety, I was able to say, you will be in a gated area, but today the threats are also within.
When will be the next law enforcement operation to round up sexual predators because they are just a dangerous with their dysfunctional brain as any other high-powered weapon?
We are all affected when other people are hurting.
How do you comfort the mother of young Yetanya Francis, who was raped, murdered and her lifeless body found on August 24, 2018, after simply being out on an errand for her mother? Her gruesome headline story is not unique to Jamaica; especially untimely deaths of young girls where other parents still search for answers. What is different today is that social media has taken these victims’ stories globally.
In response to these barbaric atrocities, vigilante justice, which often kills innocent people, does not help, nor does the prime minister’s hug, despite good intention for comfort, or other leaders’ feel-good speeches, which cannot reverse this criminal trend. Additionally, elected leaders who are in denial are only positioning themselves for the revolving election door in which they once failed while in power, which has only contributed to this normalcy.
What these neighbourhoods need is value, hope and tangible results. Several scholars have noted that fighting crime requires a broad range of technology, leadership, the community and management skills.
Who will be next on these sexual predators’ and mentally sick individuals’ lists?
Students must now deal with the psychological trauma of losing their classmate, while parents are scared to send their daughters to school or a local store.
Sure, some will disagree and point to other places globally. But 13-year-old Aliesha Brown, who went missing and was later found dead on October 2, 2014, is another reminder, along with several heinous crimes since her death.
Being vigilant is now part of the tour guide package as the new normal after reported warnings.
Jamaica’s ‘cool runnings’ vibes and local smiles have not washed out to the ocean despite the negative headlines. The local corner shops where you can repair a flat tire, to a restaurant pinned up against the mountain selling local authentic Jamaica dishes still welcome everyone.
Even the white sand and turquoise water, as the sun beams through trees, with a cool breeze hitting your face that can make you feel as if you are shedding your skin like a snake to take on a new identity and temporarily forgetting your troubles as if you were at a spa remain intact.
But, these natural occurrences and postcard moments can create fallacies because the danger remains in that snake’s venom despite its new beautiful skin. And psychologists have noted that what seems normal is sometimes not health
How did Jamaica get to this point?
It is a struggle to separate the perception from reality.
Several murders cases are left unsolved I believe from the lack of technical skills and resources or a police force that is stretched too thin to cover these dense areas.
Headlines of murders, rapes, assaults, thefts and robberies cannot be solved by a pledge alone, and/or a few operations when criminals are tipped in advance, leave the area only to return to strike again.
Headlines of murders, rapes, assaults, thefts and robberies cannot be solved by a pledge alone, and/or a few operations when criminals are tipped in advance, leave the area only to return to strike again.
Few argue that poverty, corruption, the widening gap between the haves and have-nots, high unemployment and crime rates have created an emotional desensitization and lack of responsiveness after repeated exposure to violence from the constant news.
Furthermore, if, as reported, some who are sworn to serve and protect now find themselves with case numbers from their own criminal activities further erodes trust.
Concern and outrage often seem to be short-lived in a few news cycles.
Even those who are empathetic and would like much-needed change are now convinced that these crime symptoms do not need a doctor because, emotionally, they have become detached.
This is a far cry from Jamaica’s relax-no-problem vibe that often-greeted visitors and returning residents.
The Jamaica Observer reported that, in 2017 alone, over 1,600 people lost their lives. Other reports noted that, since early 2000, over 200 British, American and Canadian expats were murdered, and since the start of 2018 over 500 have lost their lives.
Many believe that violent gangs and the ongoing lottery scam in major cities as reported is still a problem, where expatriates are seen by criminals as soft targets. What is troubling is what seems to be a disturbing pattern of acceptance of crime, dishonesty and a lack of a moral compass, while several leaders remain silent.
Sure, crime control models have been implemented to eradicate this criminal cancer, but, with these criminal trends, some believe that they have done little to deter easy access to high powered weapons and gang activities and other crimes
Dispute are now being settled by whoever has the better weapon, and the normalcy out of fear puts good law enforcement officers at a disadvantage.
I began to wonder if religious institutions, often the beacon to inspire and calm residents in these troubled times, have now aligned themselves with politicians and criminals, and chosen sides for their own survival.
Jamaica has never lost its boisterous attitude, values, pride, vigour, and tenacity, where communities look forward to the weekend simply to get out to have a good time. Sadly, many hangout places have become more isolated and indoors due to safety concerns, like the threat of a hurricane.
Yes! I get it; crime, poverty, inequality, and poor socio-economic issues are ubiquitous.
Even recently in The Bahamas, Carlis Blatch, an aide to the governor general, was gunned down while waiting on his son from school according to the Nassau Guardian.
One close friend talked about her container of goods sent home after years of hard work abroad and upon arrival half its contents went missing, with no accountability.
Public service is a noble position where honesty is key. It makes one wonder who is hiring these people, but that too has become normal.
Often it is fear, and connection to those involved, so communities refuses to come forward.
Maybe the pride Jamaica developed from the old colonial rule continues to use minimization, and deflection to balance the lack of accountability and even for survival; therefore, this behaviour has contributed to its normalcy.
Today, Jamaica’s main economic driver is tourism, but the youths I have met and on social media do not bet their future on visitors alone. They are tired of photo-ops and want tangible options, and educated leadership that has a vested interest in their future and knowledge of a changing world to lead.
They remain hopeful that the sun will rise again, but these communities must restore their pride, confidence and safety. Because only an individual alone can decide what is normal, or change and fix what is not
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