We cater to both sexes, says Jamaica Cancer Society
Executive director of the Jamaica Cancer Society Yulit Gordon, said that she would like to see a change in the perception that their organisation caters only to women.
Gordon, who was speaking at the Gleaner Editors' Forum last Wednesday, said that the reason for that perception could be that women are more proactive when it comes to safeguarding their health and the well-being of their families.
"If you look at Breast Cancer Awareness Month, there is a heavy traffic in and out of our community outreach programmes, as well as our fixed programmes. Everybody gets involved. Then, Cervical Cancer Month comes around, and again, there is a high uptake of participation of our activities. When it comes to Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, this is where we are focusing on the men. We are going across with the same fervent attention across the island with a lot of outreach and a lot of presentation, but you don't see a lot of men participating," said Gordon.
MEN AVOID SCREENING
Generally, men do not like to visit the doctor, but cancer affects both men and women, and by extension, the entire family, Gordon said.
She added that during Cancer Awareness Month, only about 700 men will show up for screening.
"Widespread screening for prostate cancer has the potential to reduce the burden of metastatic disease and significantly reduce the mortality of the disease. Recently, the relevance of prostate cancer screening has been questioned. However, the importance and relevance is undeniable in high-risk individuals, namely those men of African ethnicity and those having a strong family history of the disease," said Gordon.
She pointed out that prostate cancer, if detected at an early stage, can be cured and recommends annual screening starting at age 40.
"The Jamaica Cancer Society appeals to Jamaican males to make healthy lifestyle choices by consuming a diet low in fat and increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables, exercising regularly, and getting their annual checks done," said Gordon.
Prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in Jamaica. Women are being encouraged to accompany their spouses to the clinics to provide support.