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Project Title
Epidemiology of Breast Cancer in Tobago: Identifying Challenges and Opportunities

Project Type
Research, Education/Training

Project Overview
Contrary to the trend in developed countries, breast cancer incidence and mortality rates in Trinidad and Tobago are steadily increasing. In fact, despite the universal health care system in place in Trinidad and Tobago, breast cancer mortality rates in this developing country are among the highest in the Caribbean and the world. Given the more homogenous population in Tobago (relative to Trinidad) and complete clinical data on the population of Tobago (collected by the Tobago Regional Health Authority), as well as the expected growth in the number of breast cancer cases, we are investigating the epidemiology of breast cancer in Tobago through the collection and analysis of detailed breast cancer surveillance and epidemiologic data. The research will be an important first step toward improving breast cancer prevention and control in Tobago. 

The specific aims of the study are: 1) to facilitate training in the conduct of standardized data collection procedures for clinical and epidemiologic cancer research, through training of local research staff in Tobago; 2) to retrieve medical records relevant to breast cancer diagnosis and treatment in a sample of ≥100 breast cancer patients and abstract deidentified sociodemographic and clinicopathologic data from these records to conduct a retrospective breast cancer outcomes analysis in Tobago; and 3) to determine the feasibility of collecting biospecimens for future molecular analysis. 

This study also will facilitate the standardization of data collection procedures for clinical and epidemiologic cancer data and knowledge sharing in this Caribbean nation, through training local research staff, ultimately leading to direct benefit for the biomedical community. The collaborative nature of the study along with the training components in data collection techniques will promote research feasibility and sustainability in Tobago in the future.

Project Leaders
Adana Llanos and Wayne Warner

Rutgers Departments and Schools/Units Involved
School of Public Health, Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology

Project Location
Scarborough, Tobago

Tobago House of Assembly; Division of Health, Wellness, and Family Development

Project Collaborators (partners external to Rutgers)
Wayne Warner, PhD – Washington University, St. Louis School of Medicine