Preventing Global Diseases in Barbados

Clinical trials test whether or not, and how, a specific behavior is altered by a medical treatment, device, etc. They are mainly used to find out if a new treatment has side effects and is safe and effective. Some examples of clinical trials that are conducted include Cancer and HIV/AIDS. The reasons these trials are conducted are reducing the chances of diseases, finding a cure, or finding easier detection techniques. For example, clinical trials are preventing global diseases in Barbados.

Clinical Trials

Usually, only 10 percent of new drugs passed clinical trials before going onto the market, but now it is up to 15 percent, which shows that the qualifications and standards for new medications are higher. The probability of success (POS), within the process of getting a new medication approved, allows researchers to determine whether they want to pursue a drug. This helps with time management and effectiveness of preventing, treating and controlling diseases.

Clinical trials increase the chances of having effective treatments made available to the public and possibly at a lower cost. Typically, approximately 1,000 potential new medicines are tested before making it to the clinical trial. After passing this screening, there are four phases in the process of clinical trials: testing the toxicological effect; testing the safety, effectiveness, and dosage of medications; getting the FDA’s approval; and examining new uses for already approved drugs and treatments. These phases aid in preventing global diseases in Barbados.

Preventing Cancer

As of 2008, there was a combined death rate of 3,208 people in Barbados, due to various cancers including prostate, breast and lung cancer. Preventing global diseases in Barbados, such as prostate cancer among men and breast cancer among women, are a top priority.

Most cancer screening and early detection methods, such as a cervical cytology (PAP), mammograms and bowel (physically or through colonoscopy), are available through primary health care. However, at least 7,000 households live in poverty and possibly lack access to basic health care.

Funding Clinical Trials to Help Prevent Global Diseases

Some challenges faced in forming and maintaining clinical trials, that could help in preventing global diseases in Barbados, are the timeline and funding. A proper, successful clinical trial may take 10 to 15 years to complete. On the other hand, the clinical trial for a respiratory disease may cost approximately $35,300,000.

One possible solution to the issue of funding is to increase the 7.5 percent of Barbados’ gross domestic product (GDP) dedicated to health, or become more active in nonprofits and earn money through awareness and action.

For instance, the Clara Lionel Foundation is a nonprofit organization started by singer Rihanna and has successfully opened the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and installed three cancer detection pieces:  the equinox external beam, the brachytherapy system and the gamma camera CT scan. These three pieces of equipment help analyze and eradication cancer throughout the body.

By investing in Barbados’ GDP and more nonprofits, such as the Clara Lionel Foundation, clinical trials will be able to continue working toward preventing global diseases in Barbados.

– Jessica Ramtahal
Photo: Pixabay

world cancer day 2015
February 4 was World Cancer Day 2015, taking place under the tagline “Not beyond us.” The campaign had four key areas of focus: choosing healthy lives, delivering early detection, achieving treatment for all and maximizing quality of life.

There were 690 official events planned for World Cancer Day this year across the globe, ranging from a university awareness event in Israel to a World Cancer Day Walk in Ohio to a free cancer screening for women event in Lagos, Nigeria.

World Cancer Day is observed each year to “unite the world in the fight against the disease through raising awareness, educating the public and lobbying for change.”

Cancer is not just one disease but a collective name for many diseases; there are more than 100 types of cancer. Cancer is the term given to a disease characterized by the uncontrollable division of abnormal cells, which can spread throughout the body. There are five broad categories of cancer types: carcinoma, sarcoma, leukemia, lymphoma and melanoma and central nervous center cancers.

Worldwide, cancer is a leading cause of mortality with about 14 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012. Globally, the number of new cancer cases is expected to rise almost 70 percent in the next 20 years. More than 60 percent of these new cases and 70 percent of cancer-related deaths occur in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Risk factors for cancer include tobacco use, alcohol use, infection by Hepatitis B, sexually transmitted HPV-infection, urban air pollution, ionizing and nonionizing radiation, unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity, indoor smoke from use of solid fuels and being overweight or obese. By modifying or avoiding these risk factors, 30 percent of cancer deaths could be prevented.

Cancer detection and treatment are expensive and often unavailable to poor communities, especially in developing countries. Although fewer cancer cases occur in developing countries, there is a higher mortality rate. This shows that detection and treatment options are severely lacking. Because governments’ health budgets are usually constrained, difficult decisions have to be made about expenditures. Generally, infectious diseases get a higher percentage of the budget, leaving cancer and other non-communicable diseases to continue to wreak havoc.

Cancer is part of a larger group of diseases called non-communicable diseases, or NCDs. NCDs include cancer, heart disease, diabetes and chronic respiratory diseases and cannot be passed from one person to another directly. NCDs have been on the rise in developing countries but still receive little funding or treatment. The World Health Organization launched a campaign called the Global Action Plan for the Prevention and Control of Noncommunicable Diseases 2013 – 2020, which aims to reduce premature mortality caused by NCDs by 25 percent by 2025.

– Caitlin Huber

Sources: Union for International Cancer Control, National Cancer Institute, World Health Organization, International Network for Cancer Treatment and Research
Photo: Post Media Canada