Call for prostate cancer test cut

The incidence of prostate cancer in Barbados is so high that the Queen Elizabeth Hospital is preparing to submit a recommendation for a 50 per cent cut in the cost of the examination used to detect the disease.

According to QEH director Dr Dexter James, the country has the second highest rate of prostate cancer in the world per capita, and, in terms of mortality, the island was ranked number one.

Every year, 100 men die from the disease in Barbados.

James said he would make the recommendation for the cost of the PSA exam to be cut in half, through the QEH’s board of management in November, the month that the Barbados Cancer Society mounts its annual Movember initiative dedicated to raising funds for men’s health.

Minister of Health John Boyce said the ministry would look favourably on the request, if not for an entire year initially, at least throughout November when the Movember fund-raiser takes place.

Minister of Health John Boyce (left) with head of the Urology Department,  Dr Jerry Emtage.
Minister of Health John Boyce (left) with head of the Urology Department, Dr Jerry Emtage.

The two were speaking yesterday as the QEH received a donation –– from the Barbados Cancer Society –– of a General Electric Logiq ultrasound machine for use in the hospital’s Urology Department. The machine was purchased with funds from last year’s Movember fund-raiser that collected over $53,000.

Head of the Urology Department, Dr Jerry Emtage, welcomed the donation, noting that it was vital for the early diagnosis of prostate cancer.

He said the cost of care for prostate cancer patients could reach $15,000 to $20,000 per month.

“Therein lies the justification for this equipment, because if this disease is detected early and the individual, after discussion and information, seeks one of the appropriate measures to attempt to cure, then the cost to the country falls dramatically,” he said.

He applauded the Cancer Society for the donation, which he said would be fully utilized.

The Movember initiative involves a commitment from men to grow a moustache during the month while soliciting funds for the society’s men’s health programme.

At the end of November, the moustaches are shaved off and donations handed over by individuals and companies to the Cancer Society.

The 2014 event was officially launched at yesterday’s ceremony.

One Response to Call for prostate cancer test cut

  1. Alex Currie November 6, 2014 at 8:59 am

    I am a prostate cancer survivor and encourage anyone to get a PSA test regularly regardless of cost.
    The current theories about people being subjected to unnecessary testing is bunk.
    An increase in PSA and doubling rates are clear markers of the disease and without the test you will not know what is going on.
    Detection while within the capsule and at low levels of disease are critical to survival. If it gets out into the lymph system it will be in your body and particularly your bones before you know it and that is not a pleasant outcome.
    Get tested.


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