Bioscience

Do your part for prostate cancer

June 16, 2008

By Flinn Foundation

[Source: Barbados Advocate] – CANCER is the third leading cause of deaths in Barbados after cardiovascular disease and diabetes, with prostate cancer being the leading cancer among Barbadian men.

This is according to Dr. Karen Springer, Senior Medical Officer of Health who spoke yesterday at the press conference to announce the Barbados Cycles for Charity (BCC) event at the Ministry of Health, National Insurance and Social Security.

She said that around 150 new cases are diagnosed every year and the International Agency for Research in Cancer estimates that prostate cancer is responsible for one third of cancer cases in Barbadian men.

Honourary Secretary at the Barbados Cancer Society (BCS), Dr. Dorothy Cooke-Johnson added that prostate cancer tends to develop earlier in men of African descent in the Western world while men of European descent tend to get it later on in their lives.

In a brochure released by the BCS, it states that men should have a digital rectal exam (DRE) annually after the age of 40 and a Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test, especially if they are in a high risk group or they have experienced symptoms like discomfort in urinating, blood in the urine or semen, frequent urination and/or difficulty urinating. Early detection and educational programmes are imperative if Barbados is going to reduce prostate cancer cases and in this case, every stakeholder must play their part. Members of the general public can do this by pledging $10 for every kilometre that the four members of the BCC – Monica Weekes, Sean King, Gregory Austin and Larry Rogers would climb in a 15-day cycling tour in France from July 5th to the 19th as they seek to raise money for prostate cancer.

Pledgers can contact the BCS at 436-8888 or King at 231-1300 to discuss how they can send in their donations. This money can then be used to finance early detection clinics and to design, print and distribute educational materials on this type of cancer among other things. The other stakeholders are already playing their part. The Ministry of Health is collaborating with the University of the West Indies (U.W.I.) and the USA based Stony Brook University and the Translational Genomics Research Institute to conduct the Barbados National Cancer Study. The purpose of this study is to find out in detail what factors cause persons to get this cancer.

Another initiative of the Ministry in this regard is the establishment of the Barbados National CNCD Registry in conjunction with the Chronic Disease Research Centre of the U.W.I. This registry will contain the history, incidence and outcomes of cancer, cardiovascular disease and stroke cases in Barbados.

The BCS is also doing their part through their early detection clinics, educational outreach, health exhibitions, a air-conditioned transport service for cancer patients to and from the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (Q.E.H.) and counselling services.