More than 440 on cancer registry

Amanda Nicholson, cancer registrar, right, and Jennifer Weber of the Cancer Society display a cancer registry poster.

The number of people registered in Cayman’s cancer registry increased by 20% last year, compared to 2017, bringing the total number to 443, according to cancer registrar Amanda Nicholson.

“In the past, I don’t even know if people knew there was a local cancer registry,” said Nicholson. “I think we’ve done a good job about getting the word out in the media over the last few years.”

The CanReg 5 registry, which launched in Cayman in 2010, was developed by the World Health Organization for worldwide use. The registry contains “largely demographic” information about local patients, and is used to diagnose trends in cancer frequency and in efficacy of treatment.

As of now, the top five most commonly reported forms of cancer in Cayman are breast cancer, colon cancer, cancers of the blood, prostate cancer and ovarian cancer. Nicholson said that breast cancer has been found to affect one in every eight women around the world.

The registry, which allows Cayman to diagnose what it is doing right and what it needs to improve in treating cancer locally, will only increase in efficiency as more people join the rolls, she said.

“Quality cancer data is central to the nation’s fight against cancer, and cancer registrars are the first link in capturing that data,” Nicholson said. “The information collected is largely demographic in nature and allows us to see how this disease is impacting our community.”

The latest data on Cayman’s registry figures come during Cancer Registrars Week, April 8 to 12. Information on registries allows researchers, healthcare providers and public health officials to better monitor patients and treatments, which leads to more effective research and screening, according to Cayman’s Health Services Authority.

Nicholson said there is very little information available regarding local cancer statistics and that every registrant does their part to further knowledge in the community.

“We still don’t know how many individuals are diagnosed within our country each year, which types of cancer are most common, or whether our cancer rates are higher or lower than those of other Caribbean countries,” she said. “The Cayman Islands Cancer Registry hopes to answer these questions.”