Thu | Dec 1, 2022

Jamaicans encouraged to get colorectal cancer screening

Published:Sunday | March 6, 2022 | 10:33 AM
Minister of Health and Wellness, Dr Christopher Tufton. - Contributed photo.

Minister of Health and Wellness Dr Christopher Tufton is encouraging Jamaicans to talk to family and friends who are at risk about getting screened for colorectal cancer.

Tufton, in his message to mark Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in March, said that screening and early detection offer the best defence against the disease, which is the fourth leading cause of cancer deaths in Jamaica.

He noted that colorectal cancer, when caught at an early stage, has the highest likelihood of successful treatment.

“Therefore, with routine screening… we have the chance to prevent colorectal cancer deaths. That is why it is so crucial, especially for Jamaicans over 40 or those otherwise at increased risk, to receive regular screening for cancers,” Tufton urged.

“We can't express enough that because the risk of death from colorectal cancer drops dramatically when the cancer is caught early, screening is the best tool for prevention,” he stressed.

The health and wellness minister said that the month of observance is an opportunity to bring greater attention to colorectal cancer and presents a chance for the Ministry and its affiliate agencies to heighten public understanding about the risk factors, inform the population about screening recommendations, and broaden the reach of public education on prevention and management strategies.

He pointed out that colorectal cancer can afflict anyone.

However, the risk is higher among persons with a family history of the disease, and who consume a high-fat diet, smoke, lead a sedentary lifestyle, and are overweight.

“Therefore, a high-fibre diet rich in fruits and vegetables, together with an active, healthy lifestyle, can reduce the risk,” he noted.

“No matter your age, every Jamaican should take possible colorectal cancer symptoms seriously and bring them to the attention of your doctor or visit your nearest clinic,” he advised.

The symptoms include a change in bowel habits, blood in the stool and unexplained weight loss.

- JIS News 

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