The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) is recommending that screening for prostate cancer become a national policy so that some of the current barriers to screening will be reduced.
According to Yulit Gordon, executive director of the society, 1,309 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in Jamaica in 2018. She said that most of these cases were at an advanced state due to low screening levels in the population.
She was speaking at the launch of ‘Boss Man’ at the Hope Botanic Gardens on Thursday. ‘Boss Man’ is an awareness campaign launched by the Ministry of Health and Wellness to help reduce the high number of deaths associated with the illness. For ‘Boss Man’, the ministry has partnered with the Guardian Group, the JCS and the Guardsman Group.
“In Jamaica, we face many barriers that prevent our Jamaican men from accessing the available screening services.”— Yulit Gordon
Gordon said that with the prevalence of prostate cancer in the Jamaican population, it is critical that the ministry and the JCS work towards screening becoming national policy.
“This should ensure that all males over the age of 40 years have access to screening both in our public and private facilities,” she said.
“High-risk groups are recommended to screen annually for the disease. In Jamaica, we face many barriers that prevent our Jamaican men from accessing the available screening services. Some of these barriers are the fear of the digital rectal examination, especially if being administered by a male urologist,” Gordon said.
Other hurdles include the fear of diagnosis, fear of treatment and its effects, and the costs.
According to the JCS, one in eight Jamaican men will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime.
Risk factors for prostate cancer include family history, age and lifestyle. Also, it has been found that black men are at a higher risk than other races of developing prostate cancer.