The Ministry of Health and Wellness (MOHW) has embarked on a public education programme to mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Month which is observed annually during the month of September.
The programme comprises activities that are aimed at changing the negative attitude of Jamaican men towards prostate cancer screening.
Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) Risk Factor Programme Development Officer in the NCD and Injury Prevention Unit in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Dr. Cathi-Ann Williams, told JIS News that the Ministry is aiming to raise awareness among Jamaican men about the importance of prostate cancer screening.
“Prostate Cancer screening is available and the uptake of screening or following through of that screening is not where it should be when we look at what is happening in Jamaica, and so we want to get our men comfortable with the idea of going for their regular checks and including prostate cancer screening in their plans for their yearly checks.”
This, Dr. Williams said, would ensure that “they are aware of what is happening with their prostate and if there is a diagnosis of prostate cancer, they can initiate treatment early, so that the outcome can be good for them”.
She explained that MOHW is giving Prostate Cancer Awareness Month its full support using its social media platforms and the print media. There will be a message from the directorate giving support to the cause, encouraging men to go and have the screening done.
The NCD Risk Factor Programme Development Officer added that there will also be a number of interviews with prostate cancer survivors who are ambassadors of the cause, on the Ministry’s social media platforms as well as in the press.
There will also be interviews with urologists, who are specialists in diseases of the genital urinary tract. They will share their experiences with screening for and treating prostate cancer, and will provide some guidance for families that are dealing with a diagnosis of prostate cancer.
Activities have been ongoing since the beginning of September.
“We had a message broadcast encouraging men 40 years and older and their families, about the need for prostate cancer screening for men, starting at age 40,” Dr. Williams said.
She stated that there are other prostate cancer awareness ambassadors from different social strata who are well respected in Jamaica, who will be championing the cause.
“We have pastors, for example, heads of companies that have a very large male population, and we have those persons speaking out about prostate cancer awareness and its importance”.
Dr. Williams stated that this captive audience of men will be able to ask their questions and share their concerns.
There will also be a storyboard with relatable Jamaican characters who are dealing with a possible diagnosis of prostate cancer. Dr. Williams is encouraging persons to follow how it plays out each week on the Ministry’s social media platforms.
There are two other events that the Ministry will be hosting in recognition of prostate cancer awareness.
The first one, entitled “Boss Man Mek Wi Reason”, is being held jointly with Sagicor Jamaica Ltd. on September 15, and will feature a consultant urologist, a clinical psychologist and cancer survivors. It is open to the public and will be streamed live on the MOHW and Sagicor platforms.
The second, a virtual event entitled “Boss Man Reasonings – Big People Tings”, will be held on September 22, and is exclusively for couples.
Prostate cancer, which is cancer of the prostate gland, is the most common cancer in Jamaica and the cause of most cancer-related deaths among men in Jamaica.