ST JAMES, Jamaica — The Government will be intensifying efforts to increase regular targeted screening for prostate cancer in men over 40 years old in western Jamaica.
Regional Medical Epidemiologist at the Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Maung Aung, made the disclosure while speaking at a teleconference on August 12.
According to Dr Aung, special emphasis will be placed on men with non-modifiable cancer risk factors, including genetics, as well as modifiable cancer risk factors such as health behaviours and lifestyle factors.
“We are going to be focusing on our health education, and we are going to be focusing on prostate cancer screening for this particular age group, 40 years and older,” he said.
Citing findings from the Jamaica Health and Lifestyle Survey 2016-2017, Aung said that only 28.2 per cent of men 40 years and over have ever done the digital rectal examination (DRE) used to screen for prostate cancer, which is cause for concern.
“[The other type] of diagnostic tool that we use is the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), which also tries to assess the health status of the prostate, and only 5.1 per cent of Jamaican men 40 years and older who were sent by their healthcare providers ever did the PSA test; so this is also alarming. Another study found that older men tend to screen for prostate cancer in Jamaica,” he said.
He also noted that based on research, men in the Corporate Area are more likely to turn up for prostate cancer screening, compared to men in western Jamaica, who have to be referred for screening by their general practitioners.
Against that background, Dr Aung said the WRHA is working towards making screening a priority, both in public and private facilities in western Jamaica.
“Another case control study that we did in the western part of the country, including Westmoreland, revealed that most people know about the screening for prostate cancer but fail to visit their doctor for testing,” he noted.
Prostate cancer is the most frequent cancer and the most common cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica.
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