Prostate cancer is one of the leading killer diseases in men in Nigeria and the second cause of cancer deaths in men worldwide. Prostate cancer is cancer of prostate gland, a walnut-sized gland present only in men, found in the pelvis, wrapped around the urethra (the tube through which urine exits the body). The prostate gland secretes part of the liquid portion of the semen, or seminal fluid, which carries sperm made by the testes.
The fluid is essential to reproduction. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), Nigeria has the highest rate of cancer in Africa, with the figure possibly reaching about 13 million in 2030. Every year, 10,000 Nigerians die as a result of cancer-related deaths, while 250,000 new cases of cancer are recorded annually and one of the most common is prostate cancer.
In a research work published in Pan African Medical Journal in August 10, 2013, a study carried out in Lagos to find out the rate at which men are affected with prostate cancer revealed there was a high prevalence of prostate cancer in the community of Lagos, which was much higher than the previously known figure. Majority of the men examined already have advanced and high-grade cancers and did not even seek for medical treatment. Prostate cancer when it affects a man leads to a situation, whereby it could be difficult for the affected man to pass out urine or perform sexual activities. A few weeks back, City People’s VIVIAN ONUORAH had an interview with Dr Uzochukwu David, the Deputy MD & Head of Clinical Services, Medicaid Radio diagnostics & Clinic, Abuja and he spoke on why the rate of Prostate Cancer is on the rise, effect of sex on prostate cancer and ways to minimize the risk of prostate cancer.
Enlighten us more on what Prostate cancer is all about and why it is on the rise in Nigeria?
Many of us have heard about cancer, but just a few really understand what it is. Cancer is a medical term used for disease in which abnormal cells divide without control and are able to invade other tissues in the body. There are over 100 types of cancer that can develop in the body e.g. Breast, ovaries brain, stomach prostate etc. All cells in the body can form cancer except those that are no longer alive or capable of dividing e.g. Nails, hair etc.
For Prostate cancer, the prostate gland is a walnut shape organ located just below the urinary bladder in men only. As men advance in age, the gland begins to increase in size, this enlargement may become benign (Not cancerous) or malignant (cancer).In Nigeria today, prostate cancer is the leading cause of cancer death in elderly men. The rate of prostate cancer is on the rise because many of us are not aware of the disease, the risk factors, lack of routine health check/screenings, men can’t identify the symptoms early enough and many report late to the hospital.
Who is at risk of Prostate cancer and is there a specific age range for it?
When a man approaches 45/50yrs and above, the prostate starts enlarging so it’s important to do an annual prostate ultrasound scan and general health check.
What are the Risk factors?
As you know, the cause of cancer is not clearly understood. However medical researchers have linked several risk factors to developing prostate cancer. Age: 50yrs and above, Family history: There’s a higher risk if a close relative had suffered from it.Race: studies have shown a high rate in the blacks. Diet: Although no diet has been linked to cause prostate cancer, it’s important to know that there are several diets that can reduce the risk of prostate cancer e.g. Lycopene in tomatoes, beans avocado pear etc.
Does intake of alcohol increase the chance of prostate cancer?
There is no established fact now that alcohol consumption can lead to prostate cancer, however, some studies showed that consumption of red wine in moderation can reduce the risk.
What are some of the early signs and symptoms to look out for?
The urge to urinate and sometimes inability to hold urine, Frequent urination, Nocturia: increased number of times you wake up to pass urine at night, Dysuria: painful urination, Straining while urinating, poor streaming: the urine doesn’t project far as it used to.In advanced cases, you have Hematuria: blood in the urine,-severe low back pain, weight loss, urine retention: inability to pass urine.
Are there some daily routines one can adapt to reduce his chances of prostate cancer?
To prevent or reduce the risk of prostate cancer, we must adopt the modifiable risk factors and undergo routine health screening. Eat healthy diets e.g. Broccoli, tomatoes, beans, almonds, mushrooms etc. Regular exercise, Routine health check,
There is this belief that lack of sex for a long period of time can increase the risk of prostate cancer, how true it that?
This is quite controversial, but recent studies have shown that frequent ejaculation (at least 21 times/month at ages 20-29yrs or 40 – 49yrs) can reduce the risk of developing prostate cancer.
What is the procedure for curing prostate cancer?
-There are multiple treatment options for prostate cancer but you have to Consult your doctor if you notice any of the symptoms. Prostate cancer can be treated if patients present themselves for treatment very early because early detection saves a life.