SIGN ME UP: Jamaican men add their names to the attendance list at Sunday's symposium.On Sunday, September 2, the Jamaica Cancer Society (joining forces with the Jamaica Urological Society and other partners) staged the 2018 Prostate Cancer Medical Conference at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel’s Talk of the Town in New Kingston, drawing a sizeable audience of medical practitioners, students and members of the public. Informative and eye-opening presentations came from an estimable panel of top docs, including Dr. Michael Brooks, Dr. Gareth Reid, Dr. Belinda Morrison, Dr. Venslow Greaves and guest speaker Dr. Mark E. Pomper, a US-board certified radiation oncologist, based in Miami. Here are three key questions that TALLAWAH posed to the experts.
What’s the best advice for men who have a history of prostate cancer in their family?
Dr. Michael Brooks readily acknowledges the twin facts that Black men have an increased risk of acquiring the disease and Jamaican men have an unusually high incidence of prostate cancer. “I think most Jamaican men fall into the high-risk category simply because they are Black men,” says the Caribbean and UK-trained consultant urologist, who has also treated patients at the Kingston Public Hospital (KPH). “The advice is the same across the board – start your screening by age 40, do your yearly exams. But I’d say that men who have that family history need to be more vigilant than the average person.”
What behaviours may lower one’s risk of prostate cancer?
Urologist Dr. Leroy Harrison says there’s a common belief among Jamaican men that ejaculating at least 21 times per month may reduce your risk of the disease over time. But other docs hold fast to the timeless importance of simply treating your body well. “The top thing is healthy living. Engaging in some form of physical activity and exercise like three times a week is key,” advises Dr. Gareth Reid. “You also want to cut down on fast food, processed foods and red meat.”
How do you know which treatment is best for you?
During his presentation centred on “Surgical Management of Prostate Cancer,” Dr. Brooks highlighted the Laparoscopic treatment and the Robotic Prostatectomy, both classified as minimally invasive surgery options. “I personally hold the view that in choosing the modality of operation having an experienced surgeon helps,” he notes. Jamaican doctors, he believes, are among the best in the field. “You can always fly off to Miami to get the robotic surgery done,” he says, “but there are also good treatments available locally.”
“A cancer diagnosis is not a death sentence. So as doctors it’s about how we can maximize life and save lives.” – Dr. Mark E. Pomper