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Cancer killed 482 Bahamians in 2018

Four hundred and eighty two people died of cancer in The Bahamas in 2018, according to data released by the World Health Organization (WHO).

The data revealed that 249 men and 233 women died of cancer in The Bahamas last year. The leading killers were prostate cancer, with 80 deaths, and breast cancer, with 77.

Men have a 22.8 percent chance of developing cancer before 75, whereas women have a 16.7 percent chance of developing it before 75, according to the data.

The data showed that men have a 10.4 percent chance of dying of cancer before 75, whereas women have a 9.2 percent chance.

Asked if the public should be concerned by the numbers, Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said, “Any death is obviously a concern to a family member or loved one. We have just empowered the cancer registry.

“It is now fully staffed. It is now capitalized and we will be able to, as we gather data, be able to speak to the issues of cancer incidents relative to location [and] whether there is a disproportionately higher or lower incidence of particular malignancies in The Bahamas… So, to just take numbers in isolation does not mean anything.”

There were 933 news cases of cancer in 2018.

Two hundred new cases of prostate cancer, 60 cases of colorectum cancer and 25 cases of lung cancer were recorded among men in The Bahamas.

There were 166 new cases of breast cancer, 55 cases of colorectum cancer and 39 cases of corpus uteri among women.

Sands said, “We know that Bahamian women have a disproportionately high level of breast cancer, that Bahamian women get breast cancer two decades younger and two stages later than North American women.

“We know that but that doesn’t mean that in 2009 or 1999 that the incidents of breast cancer were either higher or lower than they are now. I can’t say that. We don’t have that data.”

According to the data from WHO, breast cancer was the most prevalent form of cancer between 2013 and 2018 with 518 cases in The Bahamas.

It was followed by prostate cancer, which had 453 cases during that period, and colon cancer, which had 196 cases.

There was a total of 2,358 cases of cancer in The Bahamas during that five-year period.

The minister said the government is seeking to get “workable data so that we can formulate and improve policies” to deal with cancer in The Bahamas.

“Right now, our policies are directed at screening [and] appropriate treatment,” he said.

“We have vaccination campaigns in place for elimination of cervical cancer.”

The data can be found on the Global Cancer Observatory’s website. 

Staff Reporter at The Nassau Guardian
Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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