A study just published by Belpomme et al. analyzes risk for prostate cancer on the islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe in order to gain further insight into the etiology (underlying causes) of prostate cancer.
In 2002, the age standardized rate of prostate cancer on these two islands was 152 new cases per 100,000 person-years, which is one of the highest rates in the world. Their data further suggest that, although a Caribbean genetic susceptibility factor may be involved in carcinogenesis, this factor cannot account for the observed growing incidence on its own. The authors postulate that water contamination from pesticides originating in banana plantations on these two islands may have some association with the increasing risk for prostate cancer, and they provide preliminary data in support of this hypothesis.