More men dying from prostate cancer- Health Minister


Breast, prostate and cervical cancers account for the largest number of cancer deaths locally but Minister of Health Dr. Frank Anthony says more men are dying from prostate cancer.

“When we actually look at the latest report in terms of mortality, more people die from prostate cancer (when compared to breast and cervical cancer),” Dr. Anthony said at a health fair organised to commemorate World Cancer Day on Friday.

Prostate cancer begins when cells in the prostate gland start to grow out of control; this gland is found only in men.

According to figures from the World Health Organization (WHO), the number of men who died after being diagnosed with prostate cancer has fluctuated. In 2019, the last year with readily available data, 86 men with prostate cancer died in Guyana.

This line graph from the WHO shows prostate cancer deaths in Guyana from 2001 to 2019

Similar fluctuations exist for breast and cervical cancer deaths. The News Room has since requested updated figures from the Ministry of Health.

All three cancers are, however, now the subject of much focus from local health authorities.

This line graph from the WHO shows breast cancer deaths in Guyana from 2001 to 2019

“When we talk about cancers in women, breast and cervical… (and) for men, prostate cancer… we will be looking at how we can roll out a comprehensive programme,” the Health Minister said.

There is a major push for more girls and women to get the HPV vaccine that helps to prevent cervical cancer altogether. More women are also being sensitised and encouraged to do routine breast examinations so that breast cancer can be quickly identified and treated. Both of these ventures have been ongoing for quite some time.

But there is a challenge with men. And Dr. Anthony said the Health Ministry hopes to encourage more men to take better care of their health.

“Men are a bit more difficult to work with because they don’t often come to the clinics,” Dr. Anthony said, noting that a majority of men only seek medical care when their conditions have progressed significantly.

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