JIS News

Story Highlights

  • The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) is urging men, particularly those over the age of 40 years, to be proactive and do the necessary screening for the disease.
  • Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in Jamaica.
  • Approximately one third of Jamaican men who are diagnosed have early stage disease.

As Jamaica observes Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September, the Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS) is urging men, particularly those over the age of 40 years, to be proactive and do the necessary screening for the disease.

In an interview with JIS News, Consultant Urologist at the University Hospital of the West Indies and Lecturer and Head of Urology at the University of the West Indies, Dr. Belinda Morrison, explained that by the time most of her patients come to her, they already are at an advanced stage with prostate cancer.

“Prostate cancer is the number one cancer in Jamaica. Most of the patients I see have prostate cancer and the majority is not at the early stage,” she said, adding that “the message is out there, but there’s no conversion in terms of behaviour.”

Dr. Morrison made a comparison with the United States, which has promoted national screening for several years.

“It has now become a way of life for most American males over the age of 40 to go for annual screening. As a result, less than 10 per cent of men in the USA present with late stage disease,” she said.

By contrast, approximately one third of Jamaican men who are diagnosed have early stage disease, Dr. Morrison added.

The Consultant said that with many older men, the disease is latent and a large number of them will die with the disease and not from it. She pointed out however, that in younger black men, it is aggressive, particularly if there is a strong family history.

“We would love to see a national policy where anyone who accesses the public health system must do the PSA test. We need to be treating men with earlier stage disease and prolonging life,” she emphasized.

Dr. Morrison, who is also Secretary of the Jamaica Urological Society (JUS), applauded the efforts of the JCS, which has the largest cancer screening clinic in the island.