KINGSTON — State Minister in the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Andrew Gallimore is urging men to adopt preventive practices regarding their health, particularly in relation to prostate cancer.
In a message delivered by Director of Social Security in the Ministry, Denzil Thorpe, at a ‘Men’s Health Day 2011’ function, held at the Girl Guides headquarters in Kingston, yesterday the State Minister informed that men of African descent are at greater risk of developing prostate cancer than others.
He noted that globally, prostate cancer has grown to become the most high-risk type of cancer facing men, adding that rates of detection vary widely across the world, with detection being far less frequent in South and East Asia, than in Europe and the United States.
“In Jamaica, according to data from the Jamaica Cancer Registry in the Department of Pathology at the University of the West Indies (2008), incidences of prostate cancer now stand at 65.5 for every 100,000 of the Jamaican population,” he said.
Mr. Gallimore pointed out that with early detection and healthy lifestyle, prevention can be easy. “This is why regular check-ups are vital, and it is important for Jamaican males to get screened. I challenge my ‘brothers’ to take this matter seriously. We need to deal with the nervousness and the fear that is associated with getting tested,” he urged.
“Cancer care can also be costly, whether short-tem or long-term. Direct medical costs can be expensive for individuals and families, but one also has to factor in the economic costs to society associated with lost productivity due to illness or premature death. So, the message is – be proactive as prevention is far better than cure,” he added.
Mr. Gallimore commended the organisers for using the forum to heighten awareness about male health issues by providing information which will empower men to act promptly to fight diseases.
The event is one of several organised to observe Men’s Health Week during the period June 13 to 19. The month of June is celebrated internationally as Men’s Month.
Highlighting the importance of the month, Mr. Gallimore said it is critical to have a month dedicated to men, especially since the experts have agreed that men’s issues, when neglected and left unresolved, can lead to adverse consequential effects.
The main activity for the day was a panel discussion under the theme: ‘The Prostate Health and You’. Participants were also treated to foot care, organised by the National Council for Senior Citizens.
The Men’s Health Day was staged to heighten awareness about male health issues and preventive practices; to encourage men to seek regular check-ups, medical advice and early treatment for diseases.
It was organised by the National Council for Senior Citizens, the Mona Ageing and Wellness Centre at the University of the West Indies and Men’s Health Network International.
By CHRIS PATTERSON, JIS Reporter