A national Cancer Registry was launched in the Cayman Islands in 2010 by the Health Services Authority in collaboration with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.
Cancer registries have proven to be key components of a knowledge management system for cancer. They contribute to scientific research into causes and cancer management. Registries also provide evidence for policymaking and the monitoring of programme implementation.
National Cancer registries aim to collect data on every case of cancer diagnosed in all persons residing within the geographical area they cover. Jennifer Webber, operations manager for the Cayman Islands Cancer Society, said the organisations had come together on this initiative of national importance due to the need for accurate data to inform on trends in cancer incidence along with outcomes and quality of care.
“With the widening impact of cancer on the Cayman Islands community and the escalating complexity and expenses associated with treatment, accurate statistics are needed to inform the public, create health care policies and present actionable steps toward prevention and the reduction of cancer risks,” she said.
“There is very little information on the number of people living with cancer or the types of cancer that are most prevalent in the Cayman Islands at present.” Cancer Registrar Milena Conolly said. “Additionally, we need to know information such as the number of new cases that develop annually, the treatments and outcomes.”
It is not mandatory for those with cancer to submit details to the Cayman Islands Cancer Registry, but people are highly encouraged to come forward and participate in the process.
“The Ministry of Health is pleased to see the Health Services Authority working along with the Cayman Islands Cancer Society in the creation of a national Cancer Registry – this invaluable tool will one day be able to provide accurate survival information to our loved ones, ourselves and the community as a whole. The accumulated data will also prove very useful in assisting us in making important public health decisions that maximise the effectiveness of our public health funds – such as the placement of screening programmes. We encourage all individuals and health care agencies to participate along with them in this important initiative,” said Cabinet Minister Mark Scotland.
“Cancer is a major public health challenge worldwide. In the developed world, up to one in three people will develop some form of cancer, and one in four will die from it,” added Ms. Lizzette Yearwood, chief executive officer of the health authority. “In order to understand the changes and developments happening within our country, health professionals need an accurate picture of cancer incidence in the population so that interventions can be targeted,” Ms Conolly said. “This information can then be used to make informed public health decisions and act as a catalyst for the development of programmes designed to mitigate the risks of many types of cancers.”
Additionally, Ms. Conolly said, “Data collected by the Cancer Registry can be compared with other Caribbean countries and worldwide. This comparison will give the Cayman Islands evidence of any similarities or differences experienced. The ability to compare data will encourage collaboration with other nations and further research. Without this information it would be difficult to initiate action to decrease the occurrence of cancer in the Cayman Islands”.
To learn more about the registry, contact Cancer Registrar Milena Conolly at 244-2560.