The Jamaica Cancer Society is reporting that more men are heeding the call to take Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests and Digital Rectal Examinations (DRE) for prostate cancer.

In an interview with JIS News, Executive Director of the Jamaica Cancer Society, Yulit Gordon, said the response was largely due to women wanting to get the men in their lives screened.

“We are pleased with the level of response from the public on our call to action to get screened for prostate cancer.  We hosted more men and women this year than in previous years, as the women were vigilant in getting the men to us to get the tests done,” she said.

“We continue to engage the women to encourage the men in their lives to get tested. The women have been playing an integral role in engaging and mentoring the men in this regard,”  Ms. Gordon noted.  The Executive Director pointed out  that screenings have been on an upward trajectory and cited improved figures over the past five years.

“In 2010 we screened 500 men. In 2011 the number went up to 567 and again in 2012 to 650. In 2013 the figure was increased to 704, then in 2014 there was a significant jump to 1,210. So far for 2015, we have exceeded 1,300 and are expecting the numbers to continue to climb,” she said.

Ms. Gordon noted  that cultural, psychological and financial barriers continue to be deterrents in the JCS’ quest to screen at least 10 per cent of the target population (men between  40 and 70 years), currently  numbering in excess of 300,000.

“We have been using testimonials from prostate cancer survivors to share their journey in the hope of addressing the cultural and psychological barriers,” she informed.

She said that prostate cancer continues to be a major health issue affecting Jamaican men and that Jamaica has been reported to have one of the highest rates for the disease in the world.

According to the Executive Director, screening for prostate cancer was successfully done in September in Kingston, Mandeville and Montego Bay, through partnerships with the National Health Fund, the Cornwall Regional Hospital, the Jamaica Urological Society, and the Rotary Club of Montego Bay East.

The Jamaica Cancer Society has just concluded a month of activities to mobilize Jamaican males to get screened for the disease and to participate in their public education fora. September is observed as Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

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