JIS News

Story Highlights

  • Approximately 200 men benefited from free prostate cancer screening and other medical checks during a health fair held at Independence Park, Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on Thursday (September 19).
  • The free health fair and prostate cancer outreach was hosted by the Westmoreland Health Department in partnership with the Misty Blue Cancer Foundation, as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month activities.
  • Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Jamaican men 40 years and over, and September is devoted to heightening awareness about the disease.

Approximately 200 men benefited from free prostate cancer screening and other medical checks during a health fair held at Independence Park, Savanna-la-Mar, Westmoreland, on Thursday (September 19).

The free health fair and prostate cancer outreach was hosted by the Westmoreland Health Department in partnership with the Misty Blue Cancer Foundation, as part of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month activities.

Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among Jamaican men 40 years and over, and September is devoted to heightening awareness about the disease.

Health, Promotion and Education Officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Dorcia Scott-Bowlin, told JIS News that the health fair was designed to help reduce the high number of deaths associated with prostate cancer in Jamaica.

She informed that the majority of men turning up were willing to take both the Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and the Digital Rectal Examination, which screen for the cancer.

“We did a lot of promotion and there was a banner on the gate; so they knew it was something for men. Even though they were not sure, they came over, asked questions to see what was happening and eventually registered and started getting ready for the screening,” she informed.

Mrs. Scott Bowlin further informed that a number of other agencies, including the National Health Fund (NHF), were on hand to conduct various health checks and offer psychological support.

“The National Heath Fund (NHF)… sponsored the PSA test. They also sponsored the blood sugar, blood pressure and cholesterol tests. We also had other agencies here [such as] the nutrition department from the health centre, coming to promote breastfeeding and counselling the persons who may have had high results in their blood sugar and blood pressure readings,” she stated.

Meanwhile, Founder and Chair for Misty Blue Cancer Foundation, Dorothy Satchwell, said she was encouraged by the large number of men taking advantage of the free prostate cancer screening.

A cancer survivor, Ms. Satchwell warned that screening is the only way to guarantee early detection of the disease.

“We tried to bring education about cancer to everybody in the parish and we sought to give professional service to everyone. We had men who came and said they were not leaving until they got the Digital Rectal Examination done. But there were those who said they were not going to let any doctor examine them. There were also those who came in and told us ‘I have seen my neighbour and what it [cancer] has done to [him]… so I want to do it [screening]” she said.

Meanwhile, a number of men who benefited from the health fair have underscored the importance of screening.

Seventy-year-old Linval Foster of Little London, Westmoreland, who received his second screening, told JIS News that he was pleased with the procedure.

“I [came] because of the importance of it [screening]. I cannot tell what is going on inside of me. The doctors and those appointed will be able to make it known to us,” he said.

Forty-seven-year old Linval Montaque of Strathbogie, Westmoreland, said the status of his health is very important and has committed to conducting routine prostate screening.

“Your health comes first. I went to Royal Pharmacy and they introduced me to [the health fair]. For my age, I have never been sick… so I came to do a check-up as a hard-working man, [because] my health is very important,” he said.

A Jamaica Moves team was also on location encouraging persons to practice healthier and better quality lifestyles.

Nine sixth-form students from Godfrey Stewart High School in Savanna-la-Mar, also volunteered at the health fair.