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Breast cancer two times higher in region compared to the US – CARPHA

Published:Friday | December 16, 2016 | 12:26 AM

In a recent study, researchers from CARPHA and the US CDC found that the rates of death from cervical cancer, breast, prostate and colon cancer are two-nine times higher in the Caribbean compared to the United States.

Only lung cancer was higher in the USA.

The study also reported that prostate cancer, a common cause of death among Caribbean men, accounted for 18 per cent-47 per cent of cancer deaths, while lung cancer accounted for five per cent-24 per cent and was the second highest cause of cancer deaths among males. Breast cancer, the main cause of cancer death among females accounted for 14 per cent-30 per cent of cancer deaths; and are up to two times higher compared to the USA.

“The large number of deaths from these types of cancers is very alarming since they are mostly preventable. Breast cancer can be detected early and treated successfully. Cervical cancer is perhaps the most preventable through education, vaccination against the human papilloma virus (HPV), screening, early detection and treatment,” said Dr James Hospedales, Executive Director, Caribbean Public Health Agency.  

Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the Caribbean, according to the study, published today in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR).

This is the first time that information on cancer mortality for the English and Dutch-speaking Caribbean is published in a prestigious peer review journal.

In some of its key findings, the study highlights prostate cancer as the leading cause of death among men of African descent from the Caribbean as well as in the United States and Africa. 

The researchers found that for both men and women, colon and rectum cancers are the third most common cause of cancer death in the Caribbean.

The leading causes of cancer deaths in the Caribbean can be reduced through prevention, screening, early detection, and effective treatment for cervical, breast and colorectal cancers.

“Research has shown that adopting healthy lifestyle choices can contribute to the reduction of cancer cases and as a consequence deaths and costs from the disease in our Region”, said Dr Hospedales. 

Prevention measures include avoiding use of tobacco, limiting alcohol use, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, keeping a healthy weight, and being physically active.