Health Minister launches prostate cancer awareness campaign

Health practitioners have not been proactive enough in getting men aged 40 and over to screen for prostate cancer, which kills just over 4,000 Jamaican men each year.

At the same time, Health and Wellness Minister Dr Christopher Tufton yesterday revealed that many doctors have been avoiding getting themselves screened for the potentially deadly disease.

Dr Tufton raised the concerns at the launch of a campaign dubbed “Bossman” to increase awareness, encourage screening, and change the narrative about prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer accounts for approximately 24 per cent of the country’s cancer-related deaths each year and is the most common cancer in the island. Jamaica also has one of the highest prevalence rates of prostate cancer in the world.

Dr Tufton said that, according to a study done by the University Hospital of the West Indies, although 85 per cent of doctors are aware of the tests to be done for prostate cancer, only 40 per cent of them recommend prostate cancer screening for their male patients over age 40.

“The challenge is two-fold — it is a challenge for the men, they don’t want to go and do the test [out of] fear of one form or another. But what is even worse, going by the study I have seen, even in the medical profession, practitioners hesitate to do the tests themselves. We really have a dilemma… when you dissect the whole issue and try to understand the challenge you realise it’s a bigger problem than we really think,” he stated.

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