BackgroundFew national registries exist in the Caribbean, resulting in limited cancer statistics being available for the region. Therefore, estimates are frequently based on the extrapolation of mortality data submitted to the World Health Organization. Thus, regional cancer surveillance and research need promoting, and their synergy must be strengthened. However, differences between countries outweigh similarities, hampering registration and availability of data.
MethodsThe African-Caribbean Cancer Consortium (AC3) is a broad-based resource for education, training, and research on all aspects of cancer in populations of African descent. The AC3 focuses on capacity building in cancer registration in the Caribbean through special topics, training sessions, and biannual meetings. We review the results from selected AC3 workshops, including an inventory of established cancer registries in the Caribbean region, current cancer surveillance statistics, and a review of data quality. We then describe the potential for cancer research surveillance activities and the role of policymakers.
ResultsTwelve of 30 Caribbean nations have cancer registries. Four of these nations provide high-quality incidence data, thus covering 14.4% of the population; therefore, regional estimates are challenging. Existing research and registry collaborations must pave the way and are facilitated by organizations like the AC3.
ConclusionsImproved coverage for cancer registrations could help advance health policy through targeted research. Capacity building, resource optimization, collaboration, and communication between cancer surveillance and research teams are key to obtaining robust and complete data in the Caribbean.