Opportunities for reducing morbidity and mortality due to leading cancers in a developing country

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BackgroundMalignancies are a leading cause of chronic non-communicable disease deaths in Jamaica. However, little or no data is available on integration of cancer screening guidelines in clinics.MethodsA cross-sectional survey of 88 consecutive patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) and/or hypertension (HTN) was conducted at major health centers in Jamaica between September and December 2011.ResultsEighty percent respondents were women; 20% were men. The mean age was 57 years old. Forty persons (45.5%) had high cholesterol, 62 (71%) had DM and 62 (71%) had HTN. Of 66 women, 27% reported never having a pap smear and 66% had no pap smear within the last 12 months. 49% women over 40 years never had a mammogram and 74% did not have a mammogram in the last 12 months. Among men over 40 years old, at least 25% never had a prostate examination and 19% never had a prostate-specific antigen blood test. Most participants (>90%) received counseling about diet and exercise, but self-reported compliance with recommendations was low.ConclusionsCancer screening among chronic disease patients is suboptimal in our population. Improved implementation of guidelines for cancer in chronic disease clinics have the potential to impact on morbidity and mortality.

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