Breast Can­cer Two Times Higher in the Caribbean than the United States

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL - - Ja­maica Gleaner

In a re­cent study, re­searchers from Caribbean Pub­lic Health Agency (CARPHA) and the United States Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Preven­tion (CDC) found that the rates of death from cer­vi­cal, breast, prostate and colon can­cers are two to nine times higher in the Caribbean com­pared to the United States. Only lung can­cer was higher in the US.

The study also re­ported that prostate can­cer, a com­mon cause of death among Caribbean men, ac­counted for 18 per cent to 47 per cent of can­cer deaths, while lung can­cer ac­counted for five per cent to 24 per cent and was the sec­ond-high­est cause of can­cer deaths among males.

Breast can­cer, the main cause of can­cer death among fe­males, ac­counted for 14 per cent to 30 per cent of can­cer deaths and is up to two times higher com­pared to the US.

“The large num­ber of deaths from these types of can­cers is very alarm­ing since they are mostly pre­ventable. Breast can­cer can be de­tected early and treated suc­cess­fully. Cer­vi­cal can­cer is per­haps the most pre­ventable through ed­u­ca­tion, vac­ci­na­tion against the hu­man pa­pil­loma virus (HPV), screen­ing, early de­tec­tion and treat­ment,” said Dr. James Hospedales, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of CARPHA.

Can­cer is the sec­ondlead­ing cause of death in the Caribbean, ac­cord­ing to the study, pub­lished last month in the Mor­bid­ity and Mor­tal­ity Weekly Re­port. This is the first time that in­for­ma­tion on can­cer mor­tal­ity for the English and Dutch-speak­ing Caribbean is pub­lished in a pres­ti­gious peer re­view jour­nal.

In some of its key find­ings, the study high­lights prostate can­cer as the lead­ing cause of death among men of African des­cent from the Caribbean, as well as in the United States and Africa. The re­searchers found that for both men and women, colon and rec­tum can­cers are the third most com­mon cause of can­cer death in the Caribbean.

The lead­ing causes of can­cer deaths in the Caribbean can be re­duced through preven­tion, screen­ing, early de­tec­tion, and ef­fec­tive treat­ment for cer­vi­cal, breast

and col­orec­tal can­cers.

“Re­search has shown that adopt­ing healthy life­style choices can con­trib­ute to the re­duc­tion of can­cer cases and, as a con­se­quence, deaths and costs from the dis­ease in our region”, said Dr Hospedales. Preven­tion mea­sures in­clude avoid­ing use of to­bacco, lim­it­ing al­co­hol use, eat­ing a diet rich in fruits and veg­eta­bles, keep­ing a healthy weight, and be­ing phys­i­cally ac­tive.

CARPHA is com­mit­ted to work­ing with key part­ners to re­duce the bur­den of can­cer in the region. The agency is col­lab­o­rat­ing with CDC, the In­ter­na­tional Agency for Re­search on Can­cer (IARC) and other global part­ners to de­velop and im­ple­ment the IARC Re­gional Can­cer Reg­istry Hub for the Caribbean. The Can­cer Reg­istry Hub, which will pro­vide es­sen­tial tech­ni­cal sup­port to strengthen can­cer reg­is­tra­tion for im­prov­ing can­cer preven­tion and con­trol in mem­ber states, will be launched this year.

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