During the 63
rd Annual CARPHA Health Research Conference, held at the Marriott Hotel in Basseterre, St. Kitts & Nevis, a feature lecture titled “Global cancer trends to global cancer action” was presented by Dr Freddie Bray of the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). Dr Bray reviewed current and projected global cancer data and focused on action needed to address the global problem, including strengthening cancer surveillance in the Caribbean through the support of the newly launched IARC Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub. A key message was the variation in cancer incidence by human-development. The poorest countries of the world have cancer profiles with a greater proportion that are infection related as compared to more developed nations. Further, the largest relative expected increases in cases over the next 30 years is projected to occur in low- and middle-income countries, underscoring the need for cancer control planning guided by population-based cancer registries.
Presentations were also made during a special Conference session dedicated to the launch of the Hub. The session was moderated by the Programme Coordinator for the Caribbean Hub, Mrs. Sarah Quesnel-Crooks and included four presentations. An excerpt from the 63
rd Annual CARPHA Health Research Conference Programme is included below:
In his presentation on the Global Initiative for Cancer Registry Development (GICR), Mr Les Mery of IARC highlighted the rationale for the GICR, the approach and progress to date. The overall objective of the GICR is to inform cancer control by strengthening capacity worldwide in cancer surveillance. IARC Regional Hubs covering Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Latin America and the Pacific Islands are providing training, consultancy support, developing research and establishing networks. GICR
Net, a network of regional trainers has expanded the availability and access to support in target countries. To assist the IARC Regional Hubs, Collaborating Centres have been incorporated together with greater focus through the selection of GICR Partner Countries.
Dr Glennis Andall-Brereton of CARPHA presented on the work of the Caribbean Hub and its support to cancer registration in the Caribbean. She noted that cancer is the second-leading cause of all deaths in the region and that Caribbean countries are among the worst affected in the Americas. She indicated that the Caribbean Hub became operational in 2015, is based at CARPHA, is a collaborative effort with several key international partners and provides support to all independent countries and territories located within the Caribbean Basin. Key achievements of the Caribbean Hub from its inception in 2015 to present were presented. These included four in-country site assessments, several regional training workshops and training opportunities provided to cancer registries in the region, two data quality assessments, published research, technical support provided to registries in CanReg5, the development of a Caribbean Standard Operating Procedures manual, the development of promotional and advocacy material and the official inauguration of the Caribbean Hub on June 12, 2018. Planned activities for the period 2018-2019 were also reviewed. These included regional training workshops in standardized registry procedures and in coding and staging, two in-country site assessments and data quality assessments for two cancer registries, technical support for the establishment of an OECS cancer registry and for strengthening cancer registration in Haiti, technical software support for the use of CanReg5 and SEER*Stat by Caribbean cancer registries, continued advocacy for improved cancer surveillance to Caribbean leaders and policy-makers and for the work of the Caribbean Hub to Caribbean and International stakeholders, continued research projects, work to strengthen partnerships and resource mobilization activities.
Dr Damali Martin of the NCI presented on the role of NCI for cancer control in the Caribbean including NCI’s activities for increasing capacity of cancer research and registration. NCI performed a number of site visits throughout the Caribbean region to learn priorities for cancer control and prevention from a number of stakeholders. Information from those site visits were used to plan activities around cancer research and registration. In 2014, the NCI in partnership with other NIH institutes, St. George’s University, CARPHA, and PAHO hosted a grant writing workshop with the objective of encourage Caribbean scientists to use the grants process for research support. The NCI also partnered with CARPHA to implement a small cancer research program, which funded 6 peer-reviewed research grants at US $50,000 each (over a two-year period). NCI also led a multi-agency meeting on non-communicable disease surveillance, with a focus on cancer registration. This meeting led to the implementation of the IARC Caribbean Registry Hub, under the GICR. In addition, the NCI has hosted two meetings (one face-face and one virtual meeting) for cancer control leadership planning with the goal to engage a multi-sectoral team of country leaders in the development and implementation of evidence-based cancer control plans. These discussions are currently ongoing through the use of the ECHO platform which aims to establish knowledge-sharing amongst cancer control and research professionals to support improvements in strategic cancer control in the region. The NCI will continue to work with their national and international partners on cancer control and prevention initiatives in the region.
The final presentation was made by Shelly-Ann Forde, Registrar of the Barbados National Registry for Chronic Non-Communicable Disease (BNR) on the registration model used in Barbados and the support that has been provided to their registry by the Caribbean Hub to strengthen cancer registration. She noted that the BNR is a tri-fold population-based registry that collects data about new cases of cancer, stroke, and acute myocardial infarction. Cost savings was presented as the major benefit of the tri-fold registry as limited resources could be shared across the functions of the 3 registries. The BNR Registrar also noted that through the support of the IARC Caribbean Cancer Registry Hub, cancer registration procedures had been reviewed and revised to be more aligned with regional standards and training opportunities had been provided to several staff members of the registry.
Participants at the session included mostly researchers, medical students and staff from Caribbean cancer registries. The session generated active and useful follow-up discussions