Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Free screenings, awareness campaign to combat prevalence of prostate cancer

Published:Wednesday | September 7, 2022 | 12:09 AMKeisha Hill/Senior Gleaner Writer

THE MINISTRY of Health and Wellness (MOHW), in partnership with the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS), is offering free prostate cancer screening, buttressed by an awareness campaign, in observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Through the generous donation of $2.5 million from Guardian Life, the JCS will be conducting free screenings for the disease at its locations in Kingston, Mandeville, Ocho Rios and Montego Bay on specific dates during September.

According to data from the MOHW, outside of sub-Saharan Africa, Jamaica has the highest incidence of prostate cancer per 100,000 people. Last year, over 1,500 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer, according to the MOHW.

Consequently, both entities plan to amplify the realities of the disease to encourage personal responsibility and promote a change in attitude towards early and regular prostate screening for men 40 years and older, in a bid to increase the chances of recovery and survival.

Michael Leslie, acting executive director at the Jamaica Cancer Society, is encouraging all men 40 years and older to get screened for the disease.

“Prostate cancer is the number one cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths in Jamaica. It is treatable once it is detected early. Men must adopt an annual screening regimen of a digital rectal examination, DRE, and a prostate-specific antigen blood test, PSA, so that any abnormalities can be detected early and save lives,” Leslie emphasised.

The JCS, he said, adopts a three-pronged approach in its fight against prostate cancer.

“We raise public awareness, we provide information, and we partner with organisations that are committed to the fight, such as the Guardian Group Foundation, Jamaica Urological Society, the Ministry of Health and Wellness, and the National Health Fund, to provide free prostate cancer screening to underserved men in communities across the island,” Leslie explained.