Participation ticks upward in cancer registry

The Cayman Islands voluntary cancer registry grew in 2017, and there are now nearly 400 people in the database.

Amanda Nicholson, cancer registrar, said in a statement that registration rates for 2017 were up 37 percent from rates for the same period in 2016.

Ms. Nicholson said that 31 percent of the registrants in the cancer database are male and 69 percent are female.

Thirty-eight percent of reported cancers in Cayman are breast cancer. Sixteen percent of the breast cancer cases included in the registry were diagnosed in women under the age of 40. This month marks National Cancer Research Month, and the Cayman Islands Health Services Authority stated it is dedicated to raising awareness of the importance of innovative cancer research.

“There are many ways people can show support for National Cancer Research Month, such as calling on government and health officials to make cancer research and prevention a top priority, or looking for volunteer opportunities at local organizations committed to cancer research,” Ms. Nicholson said.

Cancer patients in the United Kingdom are automatically included in their national cancer registry, but patients in the Cayman Islands are given the choice to voluntarily register themselves.

“One of the main concerns among people in Cayman causing their hesitation to register is the fear that information about their health may get into the wrong hands,” Ms. Nicholson said.

“However, due to the sensitivity of health information, it has to be kept under the highest levels of safety, security and confidentiality. The cancer registry is held on a secure computer database with tightly controlled and restricted access.” The data in cancer registries allows statisticians to see how many people are diagnosed with cancer at a national level and also to break down their treatments and their longevity. The information can be used to help pinpoint causes of cancer, and to develop better treatments and plans for action.

Registration entails filling out a one-page form that collects basic information about diagnosis. That form can be obtained from the registrar at the Health Services Authority. It can also be accessed through the websites of the Health Services Authority or the Cayman Islands Cancer Society.

Potential Cayman registrants can contact Ms. Nicholson at 244-2560, or via email at [email protected]