Skin cancer on the rise among Dominicans
Santo Domingo, DR
In recent years, the Dominican Institute of Dermatology and Skin Surgery “Dr. Huberto Bogaert Diaz” (IDCP) has been registering an increase in the cases of skin cancer, which operates between 10 and 12 patients daily. In contrast, years ago, the cases could be three or four.
This type of cancer, which is highly related to sun exposure, genetic predisposition, pollution, and climate change, usually appears with a black mole or dark spot, mainly on the soles of the feet, palms of the hands, eyes, and genitals.
Last year, the institute detected 16 cases during its preventive campaigns, and so far this year, it has diagnosed 28.
What worries the directors of the Dermatological Institute most is that many patients arrive at the service in very advanced stages since melanoma of the skin tends to metastasize quickly and aggressively.
The subject was discussed in detail by the leading executives of the Instituto Dermatológico Dominicano when they participated as guests in the breakfast of Listín Diario, headed by its director Miguel Franjul, on the occasion of the 59th anniversary of the Patronato de Lucha contra la Lepra.
Dr. Victor Pou, general director of the IDCP; Emma Guzmán de Cruz, president of the Patronato de Lucha Contra la Lepra; Luisa González de Bogaert, vice-president of the Patronato; Juan Periche, national director of the Leprosy Program and the engineer José Vicente Ruíz, financial administrative director, accompanied by Saraida de Marchena, from Communications, were present.
They pointed out that this type of cancer has increased worldwide, with basal and squamous cells being the two most common types treated at the center, caused mainly by exposure to the sun.
They emphasized that the institute carries out skin cancer prevention campaigns and that the most important thing is for people to see a skin specialist early when they notice a spot, a mole, or any change in their skin.
Increase of leprosy in children
On the other hand, an increase in the cases of leprosy in children has been detected by the Instituto Dermatológico y Cirugía De Piel within its active search, which is attributed to the close contact in family coexistence caused by the encirclement of the first months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Dr. Juan Periche, National Director of the Institute’s Leprosy Program, said that there are about 10 cases of leprosy in children per year and that the increase is associated with contact with adults with the disease within the home as a result of the pandemic.
He stressed that, although leprosy cases have been reduced by more than 80% in the country, it is necessary to remember that the disease exists and that it is necessary to continue educating and maintaining vigilance and active search to achieve its eradication and avoid disabilities. He recalled that in the ’70s, about 500 cases of leprosy were diagnosed in the country. Last year 148 patients were analyzed, and this year 50 have been identified.
The institute, he explained, once it identifies a positive case, goes to the home and provides coverage to the family nucleus, and this is how it has detected cases in children.
Recently, the institution inaugurated the remodeling and expansion of the Leprosy area, located in the central unit, with an investment of more than 2.5 million pesos, as part of the activities to celebrate September as the month of the fight against leprosy.
The directors of the Dermatological Institute pointed out that they have personnel trained to identify and diagnose monkeypox but that so far, they have not registered any case in any of their nine dermatological units located in different parts of the country.
They explained that they are in direct contact with the health authorities and participated in the protocol for diagnosing and managing the disease established in the country.