Twenty-first century cancer patterns in small island nations: Grenada and the English-speaking Caribbean

Lindsay M. Cattin, Paulo Pinheiro, Karen E. Callahan, Robert Hage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Purpose: Grenada is a small island nation of 105,000 in the Caribbean with one single general hospital and pathology laboratory. This study assesses cancer incidence on the island based on existing pathology reports, and compares the cancer mortality burden between Grenada and other Caribbean nations. Methods: Age-adjusted overall and site-specific cancer “incidence” rates (based on pathology reports) and mortality rates were calculated and compared for 2000–2009. Next, mortality rates for a more recent period, 2007–2013, were calculated for Grenada and a pool of English-speaking, majority African-ancestry Caribbean island nations. Lastly, for direct mortality comparisons by cancer site, mortality rate ratios were computed using negative binomial regression modeling. Results: The pathology reports alone do not suffice to calculate national incidence rates but cancer mortality rates are rapidly increasing in Grenada. The leading causes of cancer mortality were prostate and lung cancers among men, and breast and cervical cancers among women. Overall cancer mortality is significantly higher for both male and female Grenadians than their Caribbean counterparts: RR 1.43 (95% CI 1.32–1.55) and RR 1.26 (95% CI 1.15–1.38), respectively. High prostate and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma rates are concerning. Conclusions: Given the small existing cancer infrastructure, excessive mortality in Grenada compared to its neighbors may be disproportionately more attributable to low survival than a high cancer risk. Global solutions will be required to meet the cancer control needs of geographically isolated small nations such as Grenada.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1241-1249
Number of pages9
JournalCancer Causes and Control
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer registry
  • Caribbean
  • Grenada
  • Incidence
  • Island
  • Mortality

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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