It is no secret that a considerable number of men in the region suffer untimely death due to cancers that are amenable to treatment. This is mostly due to not availing of the cancer screening opportunities. However, in some cases these opportunities are unavailable. In order to correct this situation, a multifactorial approach is evidently necessary. Generally men are unwilling to visit medical practitioners for anything unless it is very obvious. Highlighting their need for such routine examination by their healthcare practitioner is therefore a necessity. To highlight the seriousness of this issue, Gibson et.al in a 2002 article stated that prostate cancer is a major health care problem in Jamaica with an annual incidence of 65.5/ 100,000 men/year making it the most common cancer affecting Jamaican men, accounting for 30.3% of incident cancers. It is also the most common cause of male cancer – related deaths accounting for 16.5% of cancer total cancer related deaths (Blake et al., 2002). These statistics would most likely apply across the region. In 2012, these are manageable diseases that should not be costing us so many lives. The American Cancer Society recommends that men make an informed decision with their doctor about whether to be tested for prostate cancer. They further recommended that starting at age 50, men should talk to a doctor about the pros and cons of testing so they can decide if testing is the right choice for them. If they are African American or have a father or brother who had prostate cancer before age 65, men should have this talk with a doctor starting at age 45.

In a recent article published in the Asian Pacific Journal of Cancer Prevention, Dawn Naughton et.al identified certain factors that would help turn the tide in this situation. Physician’s recommendation, educational programs and health care provider’s knowledge and attitude toward prostate cancer screening were mentioned. The fate of our men does not solely life in their hands. A proactive approach by physicians and health care providers would be needed. The article further stated that “there was a significant correlation between knowledge of prostate cancer and a positive attitude to cancer screening. The majority of the medical consultants interviewed had knowledge of the disproportionately high incidence of prostate cancer in men of African descent and thought that prostate cancer screening was necessary.” Even on social level men do need a ‘push’ sometime and I believe that the ‘push’ is even more needed when it comes to their health issue. They are of course expected to take responsibility for their own health but it should not be that the medical experts failed to inform and encourage them to do so. Where the facilities and opportunities are unavailable, the various governments need to realise that in the current climate this is a worthy investment and no time should be wasted in implementing these screening programs.


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