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The Jamaica Cancer Society (JCS), in association with the Jamaica Urological Society (JUS), will host their annual Prostate Cancer Public Forum on Sunday, September 13, 2009, at Stephanie Hall, Holy Childhood High School, Kingston, starting at 9:00 am.
Speaking Thursday (September 03) at a JIS Think Tank session, Consultant Urologist and President of the Jamaica Urological Society, Dr. Richard Mayhew, said that the forum forms part of both societies’ efforts to increase public awareness about prostate cancer, particularly in September which is observed annually, in Jamaica, as Prostate Cancer month.
He noted that the public forum serves as an arena where prostate cancer can be explained in simple language, and to a wide cross section of persons.
“Almost every time we have a discussion about prostate cancer, men complain that they are not informed and so, to ensure that this is no longer an excuse, we began these workshops,” he explained.
The two-hour session aims to educate males and, by extension, the women in their lives, about this disease. Presentations will be made by leading local urologists, including Dr. William Aiken, Dr. Michael Brooks, Dr. Belinda Morrison and Consultant Radiotherapist and Palliative Care Physician, Dr. Dingle Spence.
Topics that will be covered include The Epidemiology of Prostate Cancer, the Diagnosis of Prostate Cancer, Diet Nutrition and Prevention of Prostate Cancer, Treatment of Early and Advanced Prostate Cancer, Sexual Function and Prostate Cancer and Coping with Prostate Cancer.
“Urologists will be on hand to explain about the different aspects of prostate cancer care from diagnosis to coping with diagnosis,” Dr. Richard Mayhew stated. A Question and Answer session will follow the presentations.
Dr. Mayhew is urging men, aged 40 years and over, to begin regular screening for Prostate Cancer. Citing a Jamaica Cancer Registry Report which places the incidence of prostate cancer among Jamaican men at 65 per 100,000, the JUS President stated that the incidence of this cancer may be higher, and is likely to fall between 100 -175 per 100,000. The Cancer Registry, he notes, mainly reports cases in Kingston and St. Andrew.
Although this type of cancer is the leading cause of cancer death among men in Jamaica, many Jamaican men remain reluctant to get screened for the disease. This reluctance, he pointed out, is due in large part to local myths held by some men and the stigma attached to the screening methods, rather than lack of information.
“Oftentimes it is that stigma that is the big factor, rather than an absolute lack of information. I really have not had many patients whom I have diagnosed, who tell me they did not know they were to be concerned about their prostate,” he explained.
“They spoke more about the myths they picked up in the public domain,” he added.
Dr. Mayhew said that, because prostate cancer does not tend to show symptoms in its early stage, men age 40 and over should ensure that they are routinely screened, so that if the disease is detected, it can be dealt with effectively.

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