May 24, 2016 News
The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) believes that a comprehensive prevention programme is necessary in the fight against cancer, which is the third leading cause of death in Guyana.
According to the [email protected] in Guyana: Progress Health Report 1966-2016 released by the organization Guyana has no comprehensive cancer prevention, treatment and control programme, despite the disease being the third leading cause of death.
Fifty percent of countries in the Americas, like Guyana, do not have any cancer programmes. PAHO/WHO Representative Dr. William Adu-Krow had indicated that 40 percent of all cancers globally can be prevented, while 30 percent can be cured altogether.
He had stressed the need for more preventative measures and screening.
The report indicated that last December, PAHO supported the Ministry of Public Health to conduct a situation analysis of cancer prevention, treatment and control as a precondition to the development of a National Cancer Plan.
The second step is for the statistics collected from the consultancy to be utilized, and for the key stakeholders assembled to develop the plan and proceed with the establishment of the comprehensive programme.
It noted that incidences of cancer have increased from 1995, where 37 cases were reported. In1996 and 1997, reported neoplasm cases were 64 and 125 respectively.
There have been no other records of cancer data found apart from the comprehensive database of the Guyana Cancer Registry, which was established in May 2000, and contained data from 2000-2013.
These figures were collected from all public and private institutions. From 2000-2012, there were 8,153 cancers recorded in the registry’s database; 6,518 cancers were recorded for a growing incidence of 867.7— which translates into an average annual incidence of 86.7 per 100,000 populations.
PAHO indicated further that there were progressive annual increases in the numbers of cancers which peaked in 2007 and began fluctuating afterwards. The report denoted that females were affected 1.54 times more than males, with 3,956 and 2,561 cancers respectively.
It added that approximately one-fifth of all cancers were found in persons aged 75 years and older, with the second most affected age group was persons aged 15-39 years with 597 (11%) of cancers. Only two per cent of all recorded cancers were found in the paediatric age group (age less than 15 years).
In the 1990s some amount of screening of women attending gynaecological clinics with Pap smear, were conducted. However, it was limited in scope and lacked promotion, the report added.
In 2009, Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid (VIA) screening of women attending antenatal clinics commenced. In addition to screening through staining of the cervix and surrounding vaginal vault with acetic acid, suspicious lesions were also treated with cryotherapy, while patients with gross lesions were referred for further evaluation and treatment.
In all, some 19 VIA clinics were established and data on all persons accessing this service was compiled. Data from 2013-2015 have revealed that 7,572 women were screened at the Georgetown Public Hospital clinic, with 7,544 having data entered. The vast majority of those screened were of Afro-Guyanese descent.
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