A health expert, Dr. Akinsola Akinde, has urged men to pay better attention to sudden or gradual changes in their health and seek prompt medical intervention to them.
According to Dr. Akinade, seeking medical explanations for changes observed in the body could help early detection of prostate cancer in men.
The medical expert asked men not to ignore frequent urination and chronic back pain, noting that they could be signs of prostate cancer.
Akinde, a former chairman of the Society of Gynaecology and Obstetrics of Nigeria, also warned Men against ignoring blood in urine and the inability to hold or delay urination, adding that they could also be indications that such a person is suffering from prostate-related diseases.
Speaking with PUNCH HealthWise, the medical expert said prostate cancer is now a common health condition affecting men, but noted that it can be treated if diagnosed early.
He stated that men who are age 50 or older are often more at risk of suffering prostate cancer.
While noting that there were no specific causes of prostate cancer, Akinde stressed that the disease was common among the black including the African-Americans.
He stressed that there was a need for people above 50 years to go for regular prostate-specific antigen tests to confirm if their prostate enlargement is cancerous or negative.
He explained, “We don’t know what causes prostate cancer. There are suggestions but then they are just postulates. It is a disease very common among black. Even in America, African-Americans are at higher risk.
“All men are at risk to have prostate cancer. If you get to the age of 50 years, you should do a routine screening. There is a test that can be done that will help to pick up the diseases at an early stage. The thing about cancer is that it is usually in different stages, and if you can pick up cancer at stage one, you can more or less cure it.
“These symptoms I mentioned are not specific to prostate cancer. What these symptoms mean is that they are suggesting prostate enlargement. Prostate enlargement could either be negative or it could be cancerous.
“If you are in that age group and you can’t hold on to your urine, you have to rush to the restroom; we call it urgency, and that is another point you are having a problem with your prostate. When you are passing blood in your urine, that is also a sign that you are having prostate cancer. When you see any of the symptoms, you need to do a test to confirm if is negative or cancerous.
“So, if you are age 50 and above, you should do that test regularly. If you have a high blood level, you will be subjected to other tests to confirm if you have cancer.”
The medical expert lamented that Nigerians don’t go for medical checkups “until the disease becomes almost incurable”.
According to him, many people don’t go for the test early, adding that by the time they have symptoms, the cancer is already in stages 3 or 4.
“We do not play a lot of importance to our health; people don’t go to the hospital until they are sick. People should go for regular annual checks,” he said.
On what the nation can do to expand access to cancer care for Nigerians, he said, “There is a need for more radiotherapy. The allocation for health is not adequate. The government does not make enough allocation for health treatment.
“There is a need for each geo-political zone in the country to have at least a radiotherapy centre to cater for prostate cancer because it is the second most common cancer in men after cancer of the liver”.
Dr. Akinde’s admonition came as Nigeria joined the global community to commemorate the 2023 World Cancer Day themed: ‘Close the care Gap: Uniting our voices and taking action.’
While noting that cancer is a major public health issue of concern, the WHO in its message to mark the 2023 WCD says the theme was to help summon like-minded people to be united in building stronger alliances to fight cancer.