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Management of Genitourinary Cancers Seminar - October 2012

Management of Genitourinary Cancers Seminar Report

Prostate cancer was ranked seventh for principal causes of death in 2004 according to the Barbados Chief Medical Officer (CMO)’s report of 2004-2006.As a result it was decided that the first BNR-Cancer seminar should seek to educate physicians and medical students on the incidence and prevalence of genitourinary cancers, as well as the diagnosis, staging and management of such cancers.


The inaugural cancer seminar was held on 24 October 2012 at the Accra Beach Hotel. Participants were welcomed by our CMO, Dr Joy St John, who also shared greetings on behalf of the Minister of Health,who was unable to attend. There was a total of 91 participants overall, with attendees from both public and private sector healthcare settings represented. 

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Firstly, Ms Angela Rose presented on ‘Cancer Surveillance in Barbados’, which highlighted the role of the BNR in collecting data on cancers of the male genital system from 2008. Ms Rose noted the main challenges experienced by the BNR: the large volume of cases, with onlya limited number of data collectors; inadequacy of documentation; cancer not being notifiableby law to the Ministry of Health for private laboratories; andcases not being regularly notified to the BNR by physicians. Ms Rose concluded by reminding those in attendance of the special and important role the BNR plays, and encouraged the support of all physicians.

Following Ms Rose was Dr Desiree Skeete, Consultant Pathologist at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, on the ‘Pathological Aspects of Prostate Cancer’. Dr Skeete began by highlighting several risk factors which had recently been debunked, due to lack of evidence-based research. Dr Skeete then succinctly explained several aspects of microscopic grading and its correlation to PSA levels, incidence of lymph node and bone metastases, mortality and survival rate and response to therapy. 

Mr Jerry Emtage, Urologist, was the featured speaker whose presentation on ‘Management of Male Genitourinary Cancers’followed Dr Skeete’s, and generated much discussion. Mr Emtage explained the different diagnostic and treatment techniques for prostate, bladder, penile and testicular cancers. Additionally he explained that diagnosing prostate cancer can at time be challenging due to the complexities of the symptoms.For example, some males present with prostatitis, but on biopsy have a very aggressive form of prostate cancer, while others may have prostate cancer but their PSA levels never increase. It was agreed that international guidelines for the management of genitourinary cancers need to be adopted and used in Barbados. This is especially pertinent since Barbadian males are twice as likely than white males worldwide to get prostate cancer and three times more likely than Asian and African males. Guidelines from the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE) in the UK were suggested.

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The seminar was concluded with a panel discussion chaired by Professor Patsy Prussia, Clinical Director for BNR-Cancer.

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Even though an official evaluation was not carried out on the attendees, the general feedback was that the seminar was a resounding success, packed with pertinent and helpful information.


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