Cancer causes & control : CCC 2017 08 11() doi 10.1007/s10552-017-0937-4
A situational analysis of breast cancer (BC) early detection services was carried out to investigate whether Trinidad and Tobago (T&T) has the framework for successful organized national screening.
An online survey was designed to assess the availability, accessibility, quality control and assurance (QC&A), and monitoring and evaluation (M&E) mechanisms for public and private BC early detection. A focus group with local radiologists (n = 3) was held to identify unaddressed challenges and make recommendations for improvement.
Major public hospitals offer free detection services with wait times of 1-6 months for an appointment. Private institutions offer mammograms for TTD$240 (USD$37) at minimum with same day service. Both sectors report a lack of trained staff. Using 1.2 mammograms per 10,000 women ≥40 years as sufficient, the public sector’s rate of 0.19 mammograms per 10,000 women ≥40 years for screening and diagnosis is inadequate. Program M&E mechanisms, QC&A guidelines for machinery use, delays in receipt of pathology reports, and unreliable drug access are further unaddressed challenges.
T&T must first strengthen its human and physical resources, implement M&E and QC&A measures, strengthen cancer care, and address other impediments to BC early detection before investing in nationally organized BC screening.