ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

Current state of prostate cancer treatment in Jamaica

28 Aug 2014
Belinda F Morrison, William D Aiken, Richard Mayhew

Prostate cancer is the commonest cancer in Jamaica as well as the leading cause of cancer-related deaths. One report suggested that Jamaica has the highest incidence rate of prostate cancer in the world, with an age-standardised rate of 304/100,000 per year. The Caribbean region is reported to have the highest mortality rate of prostate cancer worldwide. Prostate cancer accounts for a large portion of the clinical practice for health-care practitioners in Jamaica. The Jamaica Urological Society is a professional body comprising 19 urologists in Jamaica who provide most of the care for men with prostate cancer in collaboration with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, and a palliative care physician. The health-care system is structured in two tiers in Jamaica: public and private. The urologist-to-patient ratio is high, and this limits adequate urological care. Screening for prostate cancer is not a national policy in Jamaica. However, the Jamaica Urological Society and the Jamaica Cancer Society work synergistically to promote screening as well as to provide patient education for prostate cancer. Adequate treatment for localised prostate cancer is available in Jamaica in the forms of active surveillance, nerve-sparing radical retropubic prostatectomy, external beam radiation, and brachytherapy. However, there is a geographic maldistribution of centres that provide prostate cancer treatment, which leads to treatment delays. Also, there is difficulty in affording some treatment options in the private health-care sectors. Androgen deprivation therapy is available for treatment of locally advanced and metastatic prostate cancer and is subsidised through a programme called the National Health Fund. Second-line hormonal agents and chemotherapeutic agents are available but are costly to most of the population. The infrastructure for treatment of prostate cancer in Jamaica is good, but it requires additional technological advances as well as additional specialist services.

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