Forty-seven (47) new cancer patients have been diagnosed at the Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital since the last publication on cancer statistics released by the country’s main healthcare facility in October 2016, increasing the total number of persons diagnosed at the facility from 259 to 306 to date. This represents an average of 4 new cancer patients diagnosed per month at TCI Hospital.
These statistics are sourced from Turks and Caicos Islands Hospital Cancer Registry, which was established in January 2014, and includes cases diagnosed and recorded on the hospital database since the facility opened in April 2010. These statistics are limited to patients who have been diagnosed by TCI Hospital medical teams as there is likely to be other persons diagnosed who may have opted to seek treatment at an alternative treatment facility.
Of the 306 total cancer cases recorded, 204 of these persons are currently receiving treatment, support and/or follow-up cancer management at TCI Hospital Oncology Department. These current cases consist of 64 persons who have or had been diagnosed with Breast Cancer, 51 persons diagnosed with Prostate Cancer and the remaining 89 persons represent a combination of thirty-three (33) different cancers.
An oncology follow-up program continues for up to 5 years in accordance with international best practice guidelines once a patient has completed his/her cancer treatment at TCI Hospital. The remaining 102 patients on TCI Hospital’s Cancer registry who have been diagnosed by the health care facility are persons who have passed away from cancer or other illness/disease(s).
The age bracket with the highest number of cancer diagnoses recorded at the hospital is 60-69yr olds, followed by 50-59yr olds. Of these persons who fall within the 60-69yr old age bracket, 30% are Prostate Cancer and 25% are Breast Cancer. Of the 50-59yr old group, 51% of the total number are Breast Cancer diagnoses.
These trends do not eliminate persons outside of these age-groups from being at risk. For example, a patient diagnosed with Prostate Cancer at 40 is uncommon, however, other cancers may be more common within this age-bracket. Cancer is a complex group of diseases with many possible causes. According to the American Cancer Society, it is usually not possible to know exactly why one person develops cancer and another person does not develop cancer, however, research has shown that certain risk factors may increase a person’s chances of developing cancer.
Some of these risks can be controlled by lifestyle choices while other risks including ageing or a familial cancer history cannot be controlled. Some healthy lifestyle choices are eating a nutritious diet, no smoking, avoiding excessive sun exposure, limited or no use of alcohol, exercise and maintaining a healthy weight. Only a small portion of cancers are due to an inherited condition. Early detection through screening is always encouraged by the health care provider.
Below are some general breast cancer statistics/facts specific to TCI:
· Breast cancer is the most common cancer in females in TCI;
· Ages range from 31-84yrs;
· 40-49yrs most common age bracket in TCI;
· This year so far, 7 new breast cancer cases;
· In 2016, total of 13 new breast cancer cases;
Breast cancer is the most common cancer in the Caribbean and this trend is also reflected in the data collated at TCI hospital. A combination of genetics and the adoption of more ‘western lifestyles’ is believed to have played a significant role in persons health across the region, resulting in earlier and more aggressive breast cancers. Breast Cancer in women and Prostate Cancer in men remain the two most common cancers diagnosed at TCI hospital with Colorectal Cancer becoming more common in both men and women.
The three (3) most common cancers diagnosed at TCI hospital — Breast, Prostate and Colorectal Cancer — have been proven to have a direct correlation with improper diet including high sugar intake and carbohydrate food products, obesity, smoking and lack of physical activity. These are all factors that increase the risk of many cancers, but can be minimized if individuals take responsibility for their own health and make positive lifestyle decisions. Simple lifestyle changes such as regular exercising for 30 minutes a day, 3 times a week, eating healthy, cease smoking, avoiding excessive sun exposure and weight control will help reduce the risk of several cancers.
TCI Hospital is in discussions with the Ministry of Health, Agriculture and Human Services on the development of a National Cancer Registry. The hospital also share its oncology statistical data with the Ministry of Health Agriculture and Human Services as part of its contractual requirement on a monthly basis.