MORE than 95,000 doses of the HPV vaccination has been administered since the HPV vaccination programme began in January 2013.
Speaking at the Caribbean Gynecologic Cancer Society’s fourth annual Gynae Oncology Conference on Saturday at the Hyatt Regency in Port of Spain, Director of Women’s Health Dr Adesh Sirjusingh said that 17,000 children, ages 10 to 14, completed the recommended two-dose schedule.
He also noted that 90 per cent deaths from cervical cancer globally were in low and middle income countries. “Most of these women will not have had access to the key cervical cancer services which would have saved their lives, not the palliative care to help them manage their symptoms with dignity and respect.”
Fortunately, he said the TT public health system covered all levels of care from screening to palliative care although late stage cancer management was still a challenge. Another challenge was cancer statistics. He said the last validated statistics were from 2013 which showed breast cancer was the highest occurrence in women, followed by colorectal cancer, then cervical cancer.
“Cervical cancer affects more indigenous woman, people of African decent and people living in less developed areas as well as those with lower socio-economic educational and income levels.”
Sirjusingh also highlighted several new developments in the public sector including the establishment of a formal Cancer Control and Co-ordinating Committee, the use of a loan from the IDB to strengthen the cancer registry and cervical cancer programmes, and a three-year cervical cancer strengthening exercise which allowed specialists to update their skills.
“We are also working with the development team at PAHO and the Latin American Center of Perinatology to further expand the perinatal information system which is to finally create a clinical database as well as a computerised call and recall system for cervical screening.”
Gynaecologic oncologist and former education minister, Dr Tim Gopeesingh, said there were 2,500 to 3,000 incidents of cancer in TT annually. He said 40 per cent of cases were curable if diagnosed in early stages but it was still the second leading cause of death in men and the first in women. Breast cancer was number one while gynecologic cancers were number two with a 45 per cent death rate