PROSTATE cancer accounts for approximately 24 per cent of Jamaica'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.
Health Minister Dr Christopher Tufton revealed at the start of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month in September that the country faces unique challenges with men who don't want to go and do their tests, out of fear of one thing or another. As such, there have been high levels of awareness campaigns, including a six-month Bossman campaign to target men through a series of community activities, including free testing and engaging key influencers, where it is hoped that more men will come on board to get tested and to seek answers about the disease.
There were 1,309 new cases of prostate cancer diagnosed in Jamaica in 2018, representing 17.8 per cent of all cancers. The majority of cases were diagnosed at an advanced stage due to low levels of testing among men.
Men, how can you be more informed? Here are a few questions that you should ask your doctor before you're diagnosed and if you've been diagnosed, as you decide on a treatment plan.
The health check
1. Can I change my diet to help lower my risk of prostate cancer?
2. If I have a family history of prostate cancer, should I be screened more frequently?
3. If my results come back showing an abnormality, what's next?
4. If I have prostate cancer, will I need treatment?
If you've been diagnosed
1. What are the chances of the cancer spreading?
2. Is it curable?
3. What clinical stage am I at?
4. What are my options for treatment?
5. What will happen if I'm not treated right away?
6. What side effects should I expect from treatment?
7. Will I have problems with incontinence or impotence?
8. How quickly do I need to decide on treatment?
9. How will I know if the treatment is working?
1. What symptoms should I watch for?
2. What lifestyle changes should I be making?
3. Are there follow-up exams and tests?
4. What if the cancer comes back?