Mr Runcie Chidebe, Executive Director, Project PINK BLUE, a Health and Psychological Trust Centre (HPTC), has called for improved awareness of early and periodic screening for Prostate Cancer (PCa) as 26 Nigerian men were dying daily from the disease.
Chidebe said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Saturday, during the Lagos Prostate Cancer Walk.
According to him, prostate cancer has become most prevalent in Nigeria men and in advanced stage.
He said screening had become imperative to better identify and define the prostate cancer prevalence and characteristics in Nigerian male population.
“In Nigeria, cancer now accounts for 72,000 deaths per annum (30,924 for male and 40, 647 for female).
“This number is set to increase given that there are 102,000 new cases of cancer every year.
“The estimated incidence for prostate cancer is 12 per cent and estimated mortality of prostate is 13 per cent.
“PCa is the third leading cause of cancer deaths in Nigerian men, however, very little or nothing is said about it in Nigeria,” said Chidebe.
Also, a recent World Health Organisation (WHO) data shows that cervical cancer kills one Nigerian woman every hour, breast cancer kills 40 Nigerians daily while prostate cancer kills 26 Nigerian men daily.
Chidebe said these three common cancers kill 90 Nigerians daily, and that prostate cancer accounted for the highest death recorded by men.
“Prostate cancer develops mainly in older men from age 65 and above; it can be more aggressive in African men compared to men of other races.
“But there is also an increasing rate of prostate cancer from men of age 30 and above.
“So, right now, screening is being encouraged for people who are 40 years and above,” he told NAN.
On some of the predisposing factors to prostate cancer, Chidebe said: “Men of older age come down with Pca majorly because the prostate begins to enlarge mostly when people get older.
“Research shows other predisposing factors include a history of someone who has had a family member with PCa and diet.
“People should reduce the intake of packaged and processed food. More intake of vegetables and fruits is encouraged.
“Obesity can also be a risk factor; a lot of people are beginning to be too overweight these days and this can put someone at risk.
“Smoking, exposure to some chemicals and sexually transmitted infections are also risk factors.”
Chidebe emphasised the need to checkmate the rise of prostate cancer as poor education had greatly contributed to the misinformation on cancer.
“This can be more dangerous than no information; so, there is need for adequate dissemination of correct information.
“Diagnosing cancer in late stages, and the inability to provide treatment, leaves many people to unnecessary suffering and early death, especially as high mortality rates are usually observed among third and fourth-degree cancer patients.
“WHO’s new Guide to cancer early diagnosis includes improving public awareness of different cancer symptoms and encouraging people to seek care when these arise.
“Also, governments should invest in healthcare workers, equipment for screening and treatment, as well as health facilities,’’ Chidebe said.