REGIONAL medical epidemiologist, Western Regional Health Authority (WRHA), Dr Maung Aung says the country continues to see an increase in the incidence of prostate cancer.
Dr Aung, who was addressing the MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation’s teleconference last Wednesday, is attributing the continued rise to “low health-seeking behaviour among the island’s men and low screening numbers”.
He cited the stigma surrounding the digital rectal exam, a method used to examine men for the disease, as a reason why many of them avoid screening.
As a result, he said, 70 per cent of patients are diagnosed by symptoms displayed when the disease is at an advanced stage.
Prostate cancer refers to the malignant growth of cells in the prostate gland and is one of the most common cancers that affect males globally.
Health promotion and public education officer at the Westmoreland Health Department, Gerald Miller, in his presentation encouraged citizens, particularly males, to take responsibility for their health.
“When we take responsibility for our health it prevents the State from spending resources that could have been used to advance other areas in our economy that are in need of assistance,” he noted.
He said the belief held by some males that visiting the doctor is a sign of being “weak” needs to change, as it is one of the factors preventing them from taking charge of their health.
The teleconference was held in observance of Prostate Cancer Awareness Month, which is being observed in September.
The Westmoreland-based MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation is spearheading several online conferences up to December to highlight statistics and trends relating to cancers.
These are being streamed on various social media platforms on the second Wednesday of each month between the hours of 6:00 pm and 8:00 pm.
The public can tune in to these events on Zoom, the MistyBlue Cancer Care Foundation’s YouTube and Facebook pages, as well as the JIS’s YouTube and Facebook pages.