Prevention and it’s Challenges

By Dr. Shacara Blake

The Caribbean Prevention Center has been on a mission since 2010 to reduce cancer related mortality on the island. The main goal is to find pre-cursors and early stages of breast cancer, cervical cancer and colorectal cancer so that they may be treated and overall survival can be increased. Although, when discribed like this it sounds like a simple and nobel cause, we have learned that the path to prevention is not free of obstacles.

The population screening program for colorectal cancer was launched in 2020 for all men and women on the island between 50 and 75 years old. Since the commencement, we have sent out more than 33 000 invitation letters. The total participation to date is 8446, this translates to approximately 25%, meaning that 75% of the population we have yet to reach. An additional obstacle that we have observed is the fact that men participate half as often when compared to women. The possible explanation for this is subject to on-going scientific research.

These numeric cloves between program availability and actual participation by screening eligible individuals, is a matter that has our absolute attention. We strive daily to find new ways to engage the public. They say: “ Necessity breeds innovation”. I am here to tell you that this is an absolute truth. We ‘need’ to have every single screening eligible person on the island walk through our doors and make use of the offered screening programs. That is why we will continue to find innovative ways to connect with the population, so that we may get closer to our goal with each passing day.