Prostate cancer in the Caribbean is taking down our men: access to care and changes in attitude are required


Dear Editor,

The high rate of mortality from prostate cancer in the Caribbean poses a huge public health challenge for the area.

As we know, non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are a growing challenge globally, as well as in the Caribbean (1). In fact, the Caribbean has the highest burden of NCDs in the Region of the Americas (2). Among these chronic diseases, several types of cancers have occupied the top causes of death.

In a recent study, researchers from the Caribbean Public Health Agency and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that the rates of death from cervical, breast, prostate, and colon cancer are 2 – 9 times higher in the Caribbean than in the United States (3). The study also reported that prostate cancer accounted for 18% – 47% of cancer deaths. These figures are alarming considering that prostate cancer can be prevented through lifestyle changes and early detection and treatment.

Clearly, prostate cancer is a serious public health problem in the Caribbean, where its high incidence and mortality rates affect a predominantly Black population with an ancestral, genetic predisposition to the disease (4). But there are also many cultural and social norms that are proving to be obstacles to prevention and control among Caribbean men.

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