CARIBBEAN360 – Director of Surveillance, Disease Prevention and Control at the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), Dr. Joy St. John, says cancer cases in the region are on the rise and are affecting younger people.
Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the region. Breast cancer is the main cause of death among females, followed by cervical cancer. Among males, the majority of cancer deaths are due to prostate and lung cancer. Colon and rectum cancer is the third leading cause of death in the region.
“The large number of deaths from breast and cervical cancer in the Caribbean is very alarming, since cervical cancer is largely preventable, and breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully,” Dr. St. John said.
“Participation in screening programs is strongly encouraged for the prevention of cervical cancer and early detection of breast, colon and rectum cancers.”
Tobacco use, unhealthy diets, physical inactivity and the harmful use of alcohol are common modifiable risk factors that contribute to the development of cancers. Research has shown that a reduction in the modifiable risk factors in the population will contribute to a reduction in cancer cases and as a consequence, deaths and related medical costs.
A Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub, which will facilitate increased surveillance of cancers and provide data to support cancer prevention and control, will be launched this year at CARPHA’s Annual Research Conference, scheduled for June, in the Turks and Caicos Islands.