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Free prostate exam programme a success

Jonathan Makanjuola, a urologist who helped start the Daily Male monthly prostate screenings (Photograph supplied)

One man has been scheduled for surgery and another is receiving key follow-on tests after a series of free clinics checked more than 100 Bermudians for signs of prostate cancer.

Urologist Jonathan Makanjuola helped start the Daily Male monthly clinics earlier this year and on Wednesday discussed the pilot programme’s achievements.

The uninsured patient, who Dr Makanjuola called “Mike”, spoke to a urologist after taking a Prostate-Specific Antigen test at one of the clinics.

A PSA blood test measures the amount of a protein produced by cancerous and benign tissue in the prostate.

The urologist referred Mike to King Edward VII Memorial Hospital, where a biopsy and MRI showed that he had intermediate to high-risk prostate cancer. He will soon undergo surgery.

Dr Makanjuola then talked about another man, “Junior”, who also was screened at one of the clinics.

Junior, who like Mike is underinsured, was also referred to the hospital, but it is unclear whether or not he has cancer.

Dr Makanjuola said he created the clinics to help men such as Mike and Junior, who may not have been tested for prostate cancer otherwise.

Prostate cancer in Bermuda

Prostate cancer was the most common form of cancer among men on the island in 2019 and the second most prevalent overall, behind breast cancer.

According to urologist Jonathan Makanjuola, Bermudian men are more likely to contract the disease compared to the world average, and Black men are twice as likely to get it as other men.

He told members of the Hamilton Rotary Club last year: “Uninsured or underinsured men are often the ones who come to us with metastatic cancer, which costs tens of thousands of dollars in treatment.

“If we target this group, we could save money spent on healthcare.”

Metastatic cancer is cancer that has spread from where it started to another part of the body.

Chemotherapy drugs cost $60,000 per patient in Bermuda each year.

Almost 130 men, who range from 49 to 89 years of age, have been screened at the clinics, which opened in February,and 24 of them had abnormal PSA levels.

Participants referred to the clinics as “timely and definitely needed” and the staff as “inspirational” and “first class and honest people”, and all of them wanted the programme to become permanent.

The clinics have been held at various places throughout the island, including St George’s Cricket Club, the Bermuda Industrial Union and Warwick Workmen’s Club.

Dr Makanjuola attributed the pilot programme’s success to this community approach, but believed the programme has a long way to go.

Daily Male is in the process of becoming a charity, and Dr Makanjuola hopes to buy a mobile clinic, which will allow staff and volunteers to test people at their homes, within two years.

Dr Makanjuola plans to share the mobile clinic with other charities.

The next clinic will be held at Pembroke Hamilton Club on Reid Street on July 1.

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Published June 09, 2023 at 7:59 am (Updated June 09, 2023 at 7:27 am)

Free prostate exam programme a success

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