Men who are obese have a higher risk of getting more aggressive prostate cancer.

Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the foremost leading cause of death in men worldwide. It is also the most common cancer in men in Nigeria, with over 50,000 new cases diagnosed every year. Current statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) shows that in Nigeria within a period of four years, there was a speeding increase in death rate among men caused by prostate cancer. For instance, WHO noted that 26 men die daily, up from 14 men upwards every day. Ultimately, this shocking outrageous yet valid report can only mean a rapid response is needed for the prevention, early diagnosis and treatment against the deadly disease for the survival of men.

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According to the American Cancer Society, prostate cancer is a gland found only in males. It’s located in front of the rectum and below the urinary bladder. The size of the prostate varies with age. In younger men it about the size of a walnut but in older men the prostate can be large enough to affect the urethra (the tube that carries urine from the bladder to the penis). It is said to develop slowly often times there may be no signs until it becomes apparent.

The high mortality rate of prostate cancer in the country is continuously blamed on the lack of awareness, inadequate infrastructure and manpower (for cancer prevention and treatment), the burden of high cost of treatment of the disease in Nigeria cannot be over emphasised. In 2012, of the 12 drugs approved by the Food and Drugs Administration for various cancer conditions, 11 were priced above N16 million for a year treatment which further fuels the raging prevalence of cancer in Nigeria. 

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Risk factors: 

The risk factors of prostate cancer could be classified as modifiable (can be changed) and non-modifiable (cannot be changed).

The modifiable risk factors include diet, obesity, smoking, workplace exposures and sexual activity. Men who eat a lot of red meat or high-fat dairy products appear to have a slightly higher chance of getting prostate cancer. The major non-modifiable risk factors include: age, race and family history of prostate cancer. The chance of having prostate cancer rises rapidly after age 50.

Men who are obese have a higher risk of getting more aggressive prostate cancer. Smoking has been linked to a possible small increase in the risk of death from prostate cancer. There is evidence that fire fighters are exposed to toxic combustion products that may increase their risk.

 With difficulty in passing urine, poor urine flow, bloody urine, frequent passage of urine especially at night and inability to hold urine, weakness or numbness in the legs/feet/even loss of bladder or bowel control from cancer pressing on the spinal cord are symptoms associated with prostate cancer, the need to address this worrisome health issue, many Nigerians believe is not negotiable given the implication to productivity and national economy. There is urgent need to make prostate cancer screening widely available and accessible to all Nigerian men.

Treatments available for Prostate Cancer

Standard treatments for clinically localized prostate cancer include the following:

Active surveillance

Watchful waiting

Radical prostatectomy

Radiation therapy

Hormone therapy

Surgical treatment.



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