Man's silent nemesis
September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and men are being encouraged to get screened.

September is Prostate Cancer Awareness Month and serves as the stage for a pivotal showdown in the arena of men's health - the battle against prostate cancer.

As a Jamaican man, I stand firm in my conviction that it is high time we strip away the mask concealing this formidable adversary and rally our medical professionals to illuminate the arsenal of options available for men to engage in these vital tests. Let's obliterate the stigma and trepidation that often paralyse men, particularly within our own ranks, from subjecting themselves to the essential screenings.

The Ministry of Health and Wellness in Jamaica has sounded the alarm with concerning statistics about the escalating prevalence of prostate cancer. Recent years have witnessed an alarming surge in cases, particularly among Jamaican men aged 40 and above. These figures are disconcerting, but what is even more disheartening is the hesitancy exhibited by men when it comes to stepping into the ring for these crucial tests.

Men of all ages within Jamaica grapple with fear and unease regarding prostate cancer screenings. The origins of this apprehension can vary, ranging from misconceptions regarding the testing process to anxieties pertaining to a potential diagnosis and subsequent treatment. Nevertheless, it is imperative to recognise that early detection can be the heavyweight champion in this battle, potentially saving lives.

Prostate cancer, in its initial rounds, frequently goes unnoticed without any discernible symptoms, underscoring the critical importance of regular screenings for timely detection and intervention. These screenings typically encompass a digital rectal examination (DRE) and a prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. While the prospect of these examinations may appear formidable, they are relatively straightforward, swift, and notably less discomforting than the apprehensions they tend to stir.

Our medical practitioners in Jamaica must don their cornerman's cap and take the lead in motivating men to surmount their fears, unleashing knowledge about the significance of regular screenings and delivering the knockout punch to myths concerning these procedures. Furthermore, health-care facilities must create an environment that is both welcoming and supportive for men during these screenings, ensuring a winning experience.

Additionally, it is worth acknowledging that cultural and societal perspectives contribute significantly to the stigma associated with prostate cancer testing. Some men harbour concerns that a positive diagnosis might compromise their masculinity or social standing. It is incumbent upon us to challenge these stereotypes and recognise that seeking medical care and embracing early detection are manifestations of strength and responsibility.

As Jamaican men, it is irremissible upon us to step into the ring and take centre stage. We must call upon our medical practitioners to be our cornermen, fostering awareness regarding prostate cancer testing. We must collectively strip away the mask and unleash our fighting spirit, particularly within our demographic. The statistics provided by the Ministry of Health and Wellness in Jamaica underscore the pressing nature of this issue. Prostate cancer does not discriminate, and it is time for us, brothers, regardless of age, to step into the ring, prioritise health through consistent screenings, and deliver the knockout blow to prostate cancer.

Leroy Fearon is a lecturer and author. Send comments to the Jamaica Observer or

Leroy Fearon

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