Cancer more prevalent among men in Saint Lucia, stomach cancer cases rising

Samuel Sukhnandan, SNO Reporter

 Share This On:

Local oncologist Dr. Owen Gabriel.

Local oncologist Dr. Owen Gabriel is reporting that more men are dying from cancer in St. Lucia.

Dr. Gabriel told St Lucia News Online (SNO) on Thursday, April, 17 that while there is no statistical evidence to prove this, based on the increasing trend of reported cases of prostate cancer on the island, one can say that cancer is more prevalent among the male population.

“The majority of people who die of cancer in Saint Lucia, die of prostate cancer, and that only affects males,” he explained.

The oncologist believes that cancer is a major public health problem, which needs serious attention and intervention.

“It is on par with diabetes and hypertension and probably it has a greater impact on our population as far as mortality is concerned,” he noted.

Increasing cases of prostate cancer, breast cancer, cervical cancer and other blood disorders are reported daily, but according to Dr. Gabriel, stomach cancer is another type of cancer that is slowly rising on the island.

He said cancer on the whole is something that has to be addressed by the authorities, particularly the health ministry. However, he said in order to achieve greater success, it will take a collaborative effort by cancer support groups, the Cancer Society and corporate citizens.

The local oncologist further told SNO that while assistance is provided to a few patients with screening, early diagnosis, management and some treatment, all of these are expensive interventions, which require financial support and resources.

Screening for breast cancer patients is an expensive undertaking, much less the surgical aspect.

“It is an unending battle… this will be something that will need a national focus and national attention,” he said, adding that with the limited human and technological resources, it is even more challenging.

Dr. Gabriel said that while Saint Lucia is able manage the diagnosis of cancer in patients, provide surgical interventions and chemotherapy, 60-70 per cent of cancer patients require radio therapy, which is not available here. Therefore, patients most likely have to seek that treatment overseas.

Cancer remains one of the main causes of death in Saint Lucia. The island is ranked seventh in the world for prostate cancer being the leading cause of death at a rate of 23.75 per cent per 100,000.

Breast cancer is second followed by lymphomas, third.

Through a regional cancer network programme, Saint Lucia has been partnering with the Government of Martinique to assist with training. Martinique treats hundreds of foreign cancer patients annually — majority of them are Saint Lucians.

Copyright 2019 St. Lucia News Online. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.


  1. Thank you for bringing to light this very serious epidemic. Hopefully more men will get health checkups more often and not when it's too late to assist them.

    What training is Martinique providing to St. Lucia? Article does not specify.

    Does RSO intend to do follow-up articles as to the causes of the cancer increases? Or the plans of the government specifically the Ministry of Health to address this serious matter? Or if there is any goal to provide radio therapy on island in the near future?

  2. Oh and google is another option tooo

  3. Martha the media does not report on every single detail, they highlight issues and the article is basically doing that. Im sure if people wanna know wat prostate cancer is they can check with their doctors. But SNO did a great job in highlighting the issue.SMH

  4. drink a lot of soursop tea

  5. We men don't like to check on our health until we are REALLY sick.That stats does not surprise me.I have always tell my male friends to do annual check up before its too late.

  6. How do our men guard against or prevent prostate cancer?
    It is one thing to highlight the concern but what can they do here in St Lucia to reduce the risks of contacting this type of cancer.

  7. worriedAboutLucia

    We only go doctor when we feel sick, then we get caught by surprise. Women checkup regularly but we so damn proud and that also needs to change.

  8. Dr I am so happy you raised this becuase this is quickly becoming an epidemic in our country. I think a much deeper investigation into what may be causing this. I don't know that we can attribute it to lifestyle. I have seen people who exercise, eat healthy, vegetarians even , die of cancer. People of all social classes,every age.we need to determine what they have in common in terms of exposure and intake.

  9. H.pylori is the culprit when it comes to ulcers and most stomach and intestinal cancers.

  10. if such a small island is number 7 in the world then the cause of the problem shud really be looked into. narrow down the major risk fctors by research

  11. We really need to examine long term use of white flour in our diet , and we keep focusing on marijuana as we should everyone just keep forgetting alcohol , which contributing to more deaths than murders in this country. We need to remind people alcohol is not legal hence the reason why we have age limits an areas designated for that. If driving under the influence is ever addressed in st. Lucia I am sure we half the amount road fatalities per year. But when ever to monitor alcohol whilst driving we keep hearing same old stories but until everyone in this damn country looses a love one through road fatality cause by drunk driving it will never end. WE NOT READY YET.

  12. We need to rethink our diet. We are killing ourselves with our mouths.

  13. Though not a medical person I too had long suspected what Doctor Gabriel has opined. I have observed that many men in my community have been diagnosed with prostate problems. Accordingly, whenever possible, my advise to some who are my friends has focused on the need for them to undertake changes in their life style!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.