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Rev Panam Salud Publica. 2011 Jun;29(6):404-8.

Impact of the National Health Fund policy on hormone treatment for prostate cancer in Jamaica.

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Department of Surgery, University of the West Indies, Kingston, Jamaica.



To compare the proportion of patients choosing surgical versus medical castration to treat prostate cancer, before and after the National Health Fund (NHF) of Jamaica began to subsidize hormone therapy.


A retrospective review was performed at the University Hospital of the West Indies (UHWI), Jamaica. The pathology database at UHWI was searched to identify patients who had prostate biopsies between January 2000 and December 2007. These were combined with records of biopsies at external institutions. Medical records of all patients with positive prostate biopsies were reviewed to determine if they had received androgen deprivation therapy (ADT). Patients were classified as having had surgical castration (bilateral orchiectomy) or medical castration. Chi-square statistics were used to determine the difference in proportions between those choosing medical versus surgical castration before and after March 2005, when the NHF began offering subsidies for ADT drugs.


Of the 1,529 prostate biopsies performed during the study period, 680 (44.0%) cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed. Of these, 458 patients underwent ADT and had complete records available for analysis. The mean patient age was 72 years. During the entire study period, surgical castration was performed in 265 patients (58.0%) and medical castration in 193 (42.0%). A greater proportion of orchiectomies were performed before March 2005, rather than after (P < 0.001). Estrogens were the most common method of medical castration used before the NHF subsidy became available (62.0%); while luteinizing hormone-releasing hormone analogues (38.0%) and antiandrogens (36.5%) were most often chosen afterwards.


Surgical castration was more common than medical castration before March 2005. After the NHF began to subsidize the cost of drugs for hormone therapy, medical castration was chosen more often. Increased access to drugs for hormone therapy has changed treatment patterns in Jamaica.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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