Profile of Mr. Earl Jarrett, Chairman of the Jamaica Cancer Society


To the average Jamaican, the name Earl Jarrett automatically brings to mind images of two important institutions: The Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS) and The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS).

However, besides the fame, if truth be told, the lanky debonair Jarrett is secretly living out his life's mission of helping people to lead better lives. "I have a sense of commitment to the country, and I get to help people directly achieve their goals through JNBS and the JCS" he explained. It is therefore no wonder he is absolutely thrilled to have been recently voted by the JCS family to retain his chairmanship of the board. "I owe gratitude to the members of the JCS who have put me back as chairman.

We have been achieving some of our goals but there is still a lot more that needs to be done, because we need to reach more rural clients needing cancer screening with our mobile units and focus on public education" Jarrett stressed.

His life-long association with the JCS started back in 1987, when he was appointed as treasurer, which coincided with the news that his grandmother had been diagnosed with cancer. At that time very little was known about the disease. "I was an accountant at KPMG Peat Marwick when I was asked to take over the post as JCS treasurer and get involved When I was asked it struck a chord in me because my grandmother had just been diagnosed with cancer and was close to death, and her diagnosis was affecting me more because there was not a lot of information out there about the disease" Jarrett confided reflectively.

The subsequent death of his grandmother inspired him to make sure that the level of public awareness about cancer increased among Jamaicans in order to help save lives. "I had to do something because I felt that there was not a lot of information when she was diagnosed and it was my way of fighting back to challenge the existing pool of thought that cancer meant automatic death.

Today, times have changed where there is a lot of information and visibility of the JCS and successive administrations have focused on increasing public education through various efforts over the years" Jarrett noted.

Right now, for the St. George's old boy, he wants to make the JCS stronger through a number of initiatives especially since 90 percent of the female population is still not being screened for cervical cancer. "We are developing screening guidelines for Jamaica with the ministry of health and the Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO) and need to get more aggressive against smoking.

There is also a lot to be done in terms of cervical cancer because only ten percent of women are being screened and a recent study undertaken by John Hopkins University suggested that Jamaican men have the highest prostate cancer rate in the world" Jarrett said.
 

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