Get Screened for Prostate Cancer


With the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge picking up momentum locally, and “What I am Grateful For” and “Why I Love Jesus” challenges making the rounds on Facebook, the Trinidad and Tobago Cancer Society (TTCS) has issued its own challenge, specifically to men over 40 — get yourself screened for prostate cancer.

Society Chairman Dr Jacqueline Sabga issued the Prostate Cancer Screening Challenge in a media release yesterday. The challenge is for Prostate Cancer Awareness month this September. “This challenge has become necessary as men are reluctant to get tested due to the unnecessary fear and stigma attached to the screening procedures,” the release stated. Sabga noted that prostate cancer remains the leading cancer in Trinidad and Tobago and screening is a critical step as there are no early warning signals of the disease.

The TTCS urged men to empower themselves by learning about prostate cancer and their risk factors which include: 

* Age — the risk of prostate cancer increases with age. 

* Being of African descent — African men have a greater risk of prostate cancer than do men of other races. In black men, prostate cancer is also more likely to be aggressive or advanced. It is not clear why this is. 

* Family history of prostate or breast cancer — if men in your family have had prostate cancer, your risk may be increased. Also, if you have a family history of the BRCA1 or BRCA2 gene mutation or a very strong history of women with breast cancer, your risk for prostate cancer may be higher. 

* Obesity — Obese men diagnosed with prostate cancer may be more likely to have advanced disease that’s more difficult to treat ( 

The Society noted that it facilitates both Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) blood test and the Digital Rectal Exam (DRE) at their Rosalino Street Clinic. Men wishing to get screened can contact the Society toll free at 800-8827 (TTCS) to make an appointment. 

According to the National Cancer Registry from January, 1998 to December, 2007 there were 13,100 cancer deaths in this country. This figure included 7158 men and the highest, 2726 or 38.1 percent, was from prostate cancer, followed by bronchus and lung cancer. 

A Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)/ World Health Organisation’s (WHO) report last year stated that Trinidad and Tobago, Cuba, and Argentina had the highest cancer mortality rates in the Americas. 

Reprinted from Trinidad Newsday