As Cancer Support Services (CSS) reports that it facilitated the screening of 500 men for prostate cancer in 2019, a local physician is saying that a growing number of men are becoming aware of the importance of early detection.
Dr Jeetu Nebhnani said a heightened public awareness campaign about prostate cancer, has led to men understanding that it was safe to take the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) test. He said the campaign also seeks to assure men that having an abnormal PSA was not a diagnosis that they have prostate cancer.
“But screening for prostate cancer does save lives. So, it’s important to come and have your blood test done, visit your doctor, get a biopsy if the doctor thinks it is necessary and have treatment if the doctor thinks it is necessary as well, and that decreases the death rate of prostate cancer,” Nebhnani said.
Speaking with members of the media at the CSS PSA testing session at its Dayrells Road, Christ Church headquarters, today, Dr Nebhnani, said it was also important that men discuss with their doctor how early they should be screened to see if there were any abnormalities in their prostate.
“If you have a strong family history, you should probably start at 40. If you are at average risk you can probably start at 50. Different guidelines give you different recommendations but the important thing is if you are at risk you get screened earlier. Unfortunately some men do not want to be screened but screening for prostate cancer has been proven to save lives,” Dr Nebhnani said.
Public Relations Officer of the CSS Antoine Williams said though today’s session was the charity’s first PSA testing for 2020, there was an overwhelming response.
Williams said the PSA testing was a key component of CSS’s public awareness drive as it relates to prostate cancer and the need for early detection.
“Perhaps by the end of the session, which finishes at 1 p.m. we may very well be reaching close to 100 or over 100 men being screened. And that is good because you don’t really get repeats so the list would show you that these are all first timers, and that to my mind, is a good thing. Collectively, every session we have close to 100 so we had well over 500 last year.
“Last year we saw gradual increases at every testing, and the need also for our men to have a clear understanding as to what prostate cancer is all about, the causes and certainly ways in which they can detect it,” Williams added.
The PRO also informed the media that in 2020, CSS intended to focus its resources on internal and external training, as well as strengthening its existing partnerships with corporate Barbados as well as finding new partners.
“One of the key activities for this year would also be the annual conference, which also has been growing in number. So this year we have a theme: Living by all means necessary.
“And that to my mind is very profound and from my own personal experience it is apt when we look at how persons react on hearing of a diagnosis and throughout their journey.” (AH)