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JAMAICA | Gov't to introduce HPV vaccine to fight cancer

KINGSTON, Jamaica, May 2, CMC – The Jamaica government says it intends to introduce a human papilloma virus (HPV) vaccine this year in the fight against cervical cancer.

“A study in the United States revealed that within four years of the vaccine’s introduction, HPV decreased by over 50 per cent among females aged 14 to 19. This is very good news for the fight against cervical cancer,” said Health Minister, Dr. Christopher Tufton.

vaccineIn his message at the launch of the Jamaica Cancer Society’s fundraising initiative, “Relay for Life,” last week, Dr. Tufton said the vaccine is just one of several interventions by the Ministry of Health to reduce cases of cancer among the population.

He said that an improved public health system should decrease delay in the screening, diagnosis and treatment of persons living with cancer.
Cancer accounts for 23 per cent of deaths here.

The most common cancers in Jamaica are prostate, lung and colorectal in men; and breast, cervical and colorectal cancers in women. Prostate and breast cancers are the leading cause of cancer-related deaths.

 “More than 30 per cent of cancer deaths can be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors, such as tobacco use, unhealthy diet with low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, alcohol use, air pollution, overweight/obesity, exposure to radiation, inhalation of indoor smoke from household use of solid fuel (coal) and infections, such as HPV and Hepatitis B,” Dr. Tufton said.

Stressing the importance of physical activity for good health, he said that research has shown that increased physical activity can assist in reducing the incidence of breast cancer by 13 per cent and colon cancer by 14 per cent.

In 2013, the Ministry of Health commenced the implementation of the Cabinet-approved National Strategic and Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs) in Jamaica. The plan, which emphasises cancer prevention, is slated to last from 2013 to 2018.

Most recently, the Ministry launched the Jamaica Moves campaign, which encourages all Jamaicans to incorporate at least 30 minutes of physical activity in their daily routines.

Under the theme ‘Let’s Keep Hope Alive’, the 15th staging of the fundraising initiative, Relay for Life, is slated to take place on June 17 and 18.

The initiative aims to raise J$15 million (One Jamaica dollar =US$0.008 cents) to assist newly diagnosed cancer patients in accessing treatment; and to promote greater awareness of the condition through public education programmes.

  • Countries: Jamaica