161 persons diagnosed with breast cancer in Guyana this year; Other types of cancer diagnosis also worrying -Health Minister reports

161 persons diagnosed with breast cancer in Guyana this year; Other types of cancer diagnosis also worrying  -Health Minister reports

Breast Cancer remains the number one type of cancer that is affecting persons in Guyana, according to the Ministry of Health.

Cervical Cancer and and Prostate Cancer are the other two leading cancers that have been diagnosed locally.

Minister of Heath, Dr Frank Anthony made the disclosure during a press conference today, as he renewed calls for persons to get screened.  

“This year, we diagnosed 161 persons with breast cancer. This accounted for 17% of all cancers diagnosed this year. So, this is something we have to work more on in terms of reducing this burden and one way of doing that is we have to encourage people to get screened and get screened early,” Minister Anthony said. 

The Health Minister is urging women who are 40 years and older to get mammograms done. He said in cases where there may be increased risk, owing to other family members being diagnosed, women should get screened from as early as 30-years-old.

Currently, there is a single mammogram machine at the Georgetown Public Hospital, however, the Health Ministry is working to source an additional three to be placed at the Hospitals in New Amsterdam, Linden, and West Demerara. 

It was further disclosed that like Breast Cancer, Cervical Cancer remains of significant concern, with more than 100 diagnoses recorded this year. 

“The second most prevalent cancer among women is cervical cancer. This year we have diagnosed 102 persons with cervical cancer, and this is approximately 11% of the cancers that were diagnosed for this year. Again, as we have been saying, there is a very cheap and effective method in preventing cervical cancer, that is HPV vaccination. Unfortunately, a lot of people are not taking the HPV vaccines,” Minister Anthony said. 

Under the new CDC guidelines children ages 9-15 can be administered a single dose of the HPV vaccines, while children 16 years and old can be administered two doses of the vaccine at a six-month interval. 

It was noted that in the case of men, the country has seen an increase in prostate cancer with some 107-diagnosis recorded for 2023. 

 He said the figure accounts for 11% of all cancers detected for 2023. To combat the disease, the Ministry will be launching a programme to treat with prostate cancer. 

Dr Anthony said his ministry has updated its Cancer Registry and is now able to provide more accurate data. Additionally, he said the ministry has been working earnestly to reduce the turnaround time in terms of diagnostics. 

“We have also been able this year, to have a turnaround time in terms of diagnostics. In the past, it used to be that some cases when we take a biopsy, it takes about three months, sometimes longer for people to get back the results, and you could imagine the anxiety that people would be feeling. At the Georgetown Hospital we have been able to reduce that to less than a week,” he explained. 

To further reduce the time, the Health Ministry intends to introduce telepathology, which is a technique used to study histopathology slides from a distance.

According to the Minister, the equipment has already been sourced, and a section of the Georgetown Hospital is being transformed into a lab to capture the high-resolution images of the samples. 

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