IARC partners with CARPHA to launch regional cancer registration hub in Caribbean
BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – At a brief ceremony June 12, on Day Two of the Chief Medical Officers of Health Meeting, the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in collaboration with the Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA), launched the new regional hub for cancer registration in the Caribbean.
“The hub fits by supporting us to confront this second biggest cause of death in the Caribbean region, which is cancer,” said Dr. James Hospedales, executive director of CARPHA, while noting that the Caribbean region has significantly high rates of breast, cervical and colon cancer. He added that the cancer registry is critical in collecting better data in order to find solutions to combat this growing health concern.
He also said that once the registry, being housed at the CARPHA Headquarters in Port of Spain, Trinidad, is up and running, the data collected will be shared with medical practitioners, governments and other relevant stakeholders.
“One of the strengths of this is by locating it in CARPHA, you are able to collect data and you are immediately able to analyze, process, put into policy briefs for the chief medical officers, and get agreements for monitoring and follow up,” he said.
Section Head of Cancer Surveillance at IARC Dr. Freddie Bray said that cancer registration has always been a priority for the organization. “Throughout IARC’s [more than] 50-year history, cancer registration has been a priority; the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR) represents a new model to provide support,” he said. “Through the collective work of many partners, the IARC Caribbean Hub will be assisting countries who need it most.”
In the Caribbean, 15 out of 27 countries have some level of cancer registry activity; however, quality standards are not uniform and gaps in data collection over time are common. The hub will serve all independent countries and territories located within the Caribbean Basin and selected countries in the South of Africa.
The National Cancer Institute (NCI) is a major sponsor of the registry and has provided funding for a number of initiatives including site visits to individual islands and training workshops.
“Our mission at the NCI is to support the research for cancer burdens in different populations, both in the US and internationally,” said Global Health Coordinator at the National Cancer Institute Dr. Damali Martin. “Surveillance in the Caribbean is very important because it helps islands to be able to plan adequately the resources for different types of cancers. The cancer registry hub will help in collecting that information that can then be used for cancer planning.”
A plaque was unveiled by Dr. Freddie Bray and Dr. James Hospedales at the end of the ceremony.