EXECUTIVE director of the Jamaica Cancer Society Yulit Gordon has urged Jamaican men to get regular screening to protect themselves from prostate cancer.
"Come into the Jamaica Cancer Society and get screened for prostate cancer. Early detection has been proven to save lives and we have ensured that we keep our costs at a very minimal level so as to attract persons to come in and get screened," Gordon said at a Prostate Cancer Medical Symposium at the Knutsford Court Hotel on Sunday.
She said in observance of Prostate Cancer Day, the price for screening was reduced by $200 to $1,800.
September is observed as Prostate Cancer Month and Sunday's symposium was one of a number of initiatives planned to stir discussion and raise awareness about the disease.
Nine doctors — including urologists and consultant urologists, an oncologist, a radiotherapist, and a consultant in oncology and palliative medicine at the Hope Institute — made presentations at the symposium. Topics ranged from the screening, diagnosis and stages of prostate cancer to treatment, chemoprevention and radiotherapy.
"We had this symposium in association with the Jamaica Urological Society and we are looking in-depth at the disease itself; what are the risks factors that are involved, and what are the steps that one needs to engage in or to take so as to prevent the disease," she said.
Gordon said the Cancer Society has also sought to renew its efforts to create prostate cancer awareness and provide information for the public through a campaign launched recently.
She said through a partnership with international bio-pharmaceutical company, AstraZeneca, the cancer society has engaged radio and television media to dispense information about the disease, as well as, to motivate men to get screened.
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica, which has one of the highest prostate cancer mortality rates in the Caribbean.
According to the Jamaica Cancer Society, about 54 out of every 100,000 men die from prostate cancer each year.
"Men need to understand the factors triggering the disease — smoking, obesity, lack of physical exercise and adequate rest. So we are encouraging the Jamaican men out there to take action and to engage in healthy lifestyle and behaviour," Gordon said.