KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – Jamaica has launched a prostate cancer awareness campaign to help reduce the high number of deaths associated with the illness.
Health and Wellness Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton, said greater focus must be placed on prevention, in order to get Jamaicans to practise healthier and better quality lifestyles “and reduce the need and the costs associated with curative measures”.
“It is a response to a growing problem that we have, and that response starts with promoting personal responsibility and awareness around the extent of the challenge [of] why we need to do something about it; and why we can be better individuals, in terms of longevity of life, by doing something about it.”
The campaign, dubbed the “Boss Man”, is supported by the Jamaica Cancer Society, Guardian Group, and Guardsman Group. It is projected to run for six months, during which men will be encouraged to “boss up” and get screened to preserve their lives.
“At the end, if we achieve greater awareness of the simplicity and the ‘no risk involved’ in the testing, and follow-up actions, the number will come down,” Tufton said.
Under the programme, a series of community activities targeting gender-specific spaces to reach men will be done, and male influencers in the security forces, the clergy, and community will play leading roles to promote screening and testing for the cancer.
“The ‘Boss Man’ is symbolic of a call to action, an attempt at awareness and motivation to get persons involved. The name was deliberately determined to send that message of taking action,” Tufton said.
The campaign aims to challenge cultural beliefs, provide constant education, provide screening opportunities, and also target workplaces where men are in large numbers. There will also be community fairs for men and their families to access healthcare services.
Prostate cancer is the second most frequently diagnosed cancer in the world and affects 72.7 per 100,000 Jamaican men. It is the leading cause of cancer-related deaths in the country and the island has one of the highest prostate cancer mortality rates in the Caribbean.