THE Cancer Institute of Guyana is urging the public to continue screening for cancer cells given that recent statistics have indicated that Guyana has the third highest rate of cervical cancer in the Western hemisphere. Dr. Raveendranath, Medical Director of the Cancer Institute, in an exclusive interview with this publication, disclosed that thus far the institute has documented a high increase of several kinds of cancer – breast, cervix, prostrate, lung and bladder among several others.
In that light, numerous enactments have been undertaken to combat the statistics – new cancer specialists along with firsthand apparatuses and advanced treatments.
“Given that the institution is equipped with advanced treatments and new equipment, I’d like to urge everyone, especially the women in Guyana, to continue screening for cancer cells so that we can be able to assist,” said Dr. Raveendranath.
Added to its list of specialists is Dr. Sayan Chakraborty, the institute’s new radiation oncologist who, Dr. Raveendranath noted, has been quite a development for the institute given that the public response has improved.
Additionally, the institution has been collaborating with the Ministry of Health along with the Australian Cancer Foundation and other organisations to stem the plague of cancer in Guyana.
Since its establishment in 2003, the institute has been effective in performing its desired functions such as cancer awareness information, screening and consultations.
Subsequently, Dr. Raveendranath said, the response from the public has heightened leading to the expansion of the institute.
PREVALENCE OF CERVICAL CANCER
In brief remarks, Dr. Sayan noted that the prevalence of cervical cancer in Guyana is high and most cases are in their advance stage as such the institution is diligently working to combat this outburst with its treatment and available resources.
During the period of 2004-2011 more than 3400 persons died from different kinds of cancer, the largest being 621 in 2011. Afro-Guyanese account for over 65 percent of prostate cancer while on the other hand; Indo-Guyanese women hold 45 percent of breast cancer cases. Screening should be done every two years for women who either are or were sexually active since they stand a higher risk of attaining cervical cancer among other cancers.
The Health Vision 2020 Strategy spearheaded by the Ministry of Health, caters for Non- Communicable Diseases (NCDs), and has been performing visual inspection using acetic acid (VIA) screening for cervical cancer. On the other hand, the Cancer Institute of Guyana has been functional in screening for cancer cells by performing pap smears and continues to provide treatment and guidance for persons.
By Shivanie Sugrim