September 30, 2016
Prostate cancer awareness

This week, the St Vincent and the Grenadines Medical Association thanks the SEARCHLIGHT Newspaper for assisting the organization in highlighting a number of important issues related to prostate cancer, and its presence in our society.

The hope is that these weekly articles have served as a valuable starting place for the collective understanding and active participation that comes with broadening awareness. {{more}}

It marks at least one opportunity to get men talking about prostate cancer, and hopefully more men in SVG would come forward and be tested. One of the major concerns or apprehensions about having the full gamut of screening tests (physical examination, PSA and Ultrasound) is the physical/rectal examination. At the very least, have the PSA (Prostate Specific Antigen) blood test done, and go forward from there. The Screening Ultrasound is also non-invasive and can easily be done, in order to measure the prostate gland. Every enlarged prostate gland does not necessarily contain cancer, which is the reason for different levels of assessment.

A major falsehood is that prostate cancer is related to lifestyle only. It is well known that there is no single cause. But it is well established that it affects black males more than any other ethnic group of people. The Caribbean falls into this group. The reason for this is also unknown. One in eight (1 in 8) males will be diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime.

Did you know that SVG ranks eighth out of 192 countries in the world for having deaths from prostate cancer? In SVG, based on statistics from 2007 to 2015, each year an average of 20 males are affected by the diagnosis of Prostate cancer.

In the year 2015, SVG lost at least 48 males to Prostate cancer. In some Caribbean countries the statistics reveal that as many as 227 males in a population of 110,000 have been diagnosed with prostate cancer. While prostate cancer is rare in men younger than 40, the chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50. Early detection is the best strategy for managing prostate cancer, and for this reason men are strongly encouraged to have early screening from age 40 – 45 onwards. Certainly, much more can be done, and the Medical Association will continue to play its role in building awareness and deepening the understanding about prostate cancer.

In the USA, more than two million men count themselves as prostate cancer survivors – meaning that they have lived past five years since their initial diagnosis.

September was the designated month dedicated toward engaging and connecting the public, media, academia, and government around a disease that affects us all on some level – maybe because we know of a friend or there is a relative who has been touched by prostate cancer.