By Esther Durand, BVI News Staff
The BVI has moved to join other countries in the Caribbean and Latin American to establish a local cancer registry by January.
This move is being made in consideration of statistics which shows that the Caribbean is the most affected region in the entire Americas in relation cancer-related deaths.
That’s according to Principal Investigator at the North American Association of Central Cancer Registries (NAACCR) Caribbean Registry Hub, Dr Glennis Andall-Brereton.
While speaking on Thursday at a cancer forum at Peebles Hospital in Road Town, Andall-Brereton said: “We did some research comparing the cancer mortality data in the Caribbean countries compared to the US, and the USVI, and what we are seeing is for some cancers, particularly cervical and prostate cancer we are two to nine times higher in our part of the world.”
“There is a long way to go … our data is really not up to par with the rest of the world,” she said, adding that those statistics need to be improved.
In that vein, she noted that having a cancer registry will assist with cancer control through surveillance, planning, and prevention.
Andall-Brereton said regional health organisations have been working towards that goal since 2015. The goal, she said, is part of a global initiative to strengthen cancer registration in low and middle-income countries.
Register will encourage cancer legislation
Meanwhile, NAACCR’s Executive Director Dr Besty Kohler also explained that with the registry, legislators will get a clearer understanding of the prevalence of cancer and will, in turn, be inclined to implement corresponding legislation to combat cancer.
Medical Oncologist at the BVI Health Services Authority Dr Elizabeth Dos Santos told BVI News that work on the cancer registry is at least 60 percent complete.
She said the cancer experts who are currently visiting the territory will help catapult the local cancer-reduction movement by assisting the BVI to implement a cancer register by January 1, among other things.
“That is obviously a long process,” she noted.
The registry will be for the entire population and confidentiality will be high on their priority list, she further said.
The process of implementing the registry is being partly funded by the Ministry of Health and regional health agencies such as CARPHA and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
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