Doctors Hospital (DH) and the Cayman Islands Cancer Society (CICS) recognized March as Gastrointestinal and Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month in the Cayman Islands. Gastrointestinal cancer develops around the GI tract, which is known as the digestive tract. Colorectal Cancer, more specifically, is a cancer that begins in the large intestine.
Colorectal Cancer is statistically proven to affect 1 in 23 men and 1 in 25 women (US statistics). According to the American Cancer Society in the United States, in 2023, there were about 26,500 cases. 15,930 of these being men and 10,570 of those cases being women.
DH and the CICS cosponsored a Continuing Medical Education (CME) event on March 29th, 2023 to discuss these trends, technologies in screening for this cancer and advancements in treatment.
Generally, a CME serves as an opportunity for medical professionals to maintain, develop and increase the knowledge, skills and professional relationships that they use to provide services to patients. This event saw many medical professionals come out and share their thoughts on gastrointestinal and colorectal cancer in the Cayman Islands. It was insightful and thought-provoking—the night comprised of four healthcare professionals (see list below) speaking on the issue from their area of expertise and responsibilities.
- Dr Nick Gent, Chief Medical Officer of Cayman
- Dr Darley Solomon, Chief of Surgery & General Surgeon at DH
- Dr Yaron Rado, Chief of Radiology at DH
- Dr Sanjay Awasthi, Oncologist at DH
The push for screenings was heavily stressed so that early detection takes place. This can help reduce the risk of advanced cancer and lower the risk of undergoing operations and chemotherapy treatments.
Dr. Sanjay Awasthi, who is an Oncologist, shared his perspective on the advances in colon cancer, covering earlier detection, more precise treatment, shorter chemotherapy and new surgical approaches.
Dr. Yaron Rado, the Chief of Radiology at Doctors Hospital, expressed that the new Dual Energy 512 slice Revolution CT machine at Doctors Hospital is more than ready to be a regular part of the gastrointestinal screening program for colon cancer in the Cayman Islands.
This machine offers uncompromised image quality, clinical capabilities across all clinical areas, next generation AI/Deep Learning image reconstruction and best-in-class spatial resolution. Clinical lingo for, it’s a state-of-the-art machine and we’re indeed fortunate to have it available here in Grand Cayman.
So, what are the symptoms that you should look out for? With gastrointestinal cancers, it is essential to look out for the following signs:
- Pain or discomfort in the abdomen
- Loss of appetite
- Nausea or vomiting
- Weight loss
- Bleeding (vomiting blood or passing blood in stool)
- Early satiety (cannot eat a complete meal because of a “full feeling”)
Please note that these symptoms do not mean you have gastrointestinal cancer, but it is good to check with your healthcare physician if any of the following symptoms occur.
Dr Darley Solomon, Chief of Surgery and General Surgeon at DH has been working with CICS, championing the screening of colorectal cancer since his return to Cayman over 10 years ago. This cancer is preventable. How do we know this? Because it begins with a mole, it’s called a polyp. And over time, it can develop into a cancer.
“If we can catch these polyps early enough, you won’t have to deal with it developing into a cancer” – Dr Darley Solomon.
Why we work with CICS:
The Cayman Islands Cancer Society is a non-profit charitable organization established in 1995. They receive no assistance from the government and rely on donations which it receives from individuals and corporations.
The Cayman Islands Cancer Society uses its donations and puts them back into the community. Whether it is by supporting public health initiatives, educating, and informing on prevention, providing financial aid and assistance (provided to cancer patients who need financial help), and they provide voucher programs for those who qualify to help them get screened. You can visit their website to learn more. [https://www.cics.ky/]
“Properly constructed screening systems, designed to achieve the best outcomes, are complex and need to be carefully constructed around call-recall systems and multi-disciplinary care management system. Simple opportunistic one-stage testing can rarely, if ever, be effective.” – Dr Nick Gent, Chief Medical Officer
Over the next 5-10 years Colon Cancer is predicted to be the leading cancer killer of all people under the age of 50. Colorectal Cancer is preventable. Get screened, and build a relationship with your healthcare providers. At Doctors Hospital we offer a wide variety of services alongside our partners in health, Integra Healthcare.