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Thursday 17 January 2019
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Agatha: Breast cancer study to help reduce cases in Tobago

A study on the frequency, risks and causes of breast cancer in Tobago over the next 18 months was launched on Monday with Health Secretary Dr Agatha Carrington saying that the research was expected to help the Division of Health better understand challenges so as to reduce the number of cases.

Carrington did not give data on breast cancer cases in Tobago, noting instead that it was the most common cancer in women worldwide and the second most common overall and was the leading cause of deaths in less developed countries....

“Whereas six years ago, we noticed that the statistics pointed us to what is happening with these women worldwide, we know that globally, breast cancer now represents one of four of all cancers in women,” she said, adding that it was estimated that in 2018, there will be 260,000 new cases of breast cancer in women and more than 2,500 cases in men.

Speaking at the launch of the study at the Division’s conference room in Scarborough, Carrington said the Tobago House of Assembly (THA) approve collaboration with the Washington University School of Medicine and RUTGERS Cancer Institute of New Jersey, USA in February 2017 for the study.

Leading the study is Dr Adana Llanos of Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey, along with Tobago-born Dr Wayne Warner of Washington University School of Medicine, a PHD candidate researcher.

“We want to partner with others who are in the business of cancer care and cancer identification and cancer support… with the data that we would soon acquire, we want to strengthen our response, such that we could support the women on this island,” said Carrington.

“We expect to look at the clinical records of breast cancer women in Tobago…We are going to de-identify these records before we extract the data from them. We anticipate coming out of that… we would be able to acquire new knowledge in terms of breast cancer epidemiology in Tobago,” she added.

In comments at the event, Administrator in the Division, Diane Baker-Henry describing the study as a path to determine and gather data on the frequency, risk and determinant factors on the prevalence of breast cancer in women in Tobago, said:

“It is kind of painful when we can recall the number of our friends, acquaintances and relatives who are stricken by this non-selective widespread disease. So, we promise you as a Division, we would get or attempt to get to the root of this dreaded disease by gathering relevant data to support, manage and treat breast.”

Twenty local research assistants would be trained from December 10-13 to support data collection and records for the project.

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