Leadership (Abuja)

4 December 2012

Nigeria: 'Prostrate Cancer Kills 14 Men in Nigeria Daily'

No fewer than 14 men die daily from prostate cancer in Nigeria, a Consultant Urologist, Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) and a Lecturer, Department of Surgery, College of Medicine, University of Lagos Dr Emmanuel Ajibolajeje disclosed this in an interview with LEADERSHIP in Lagos, yesterday.

He noted that most men report their cancer cases late when the symptoms had already manifested and he attributed the situation to ignorance.

Prostate cancer originates in the prostate gland, a male gland about the size of a walnut that is located in front of the rectum, behind the base of the penis, and under the bladder.

According to him, people die unnecessarily, even when they are diagnosed early because there are not adequate facilities to treat them.

While noting that prostate cancer is not contagious, he identified its symptoms as the need to urinate often, especially at night; intense need to urinate (urgency) during the day; difficulty in starting or stopping the urine flow; inability to urinate; weak, decreased or interrupted urine streaming, a sense of incompletely emptying the bladder; burning or pain during urination; blood in the urine or semen and painful ejaculation.

"Prostate cancer, the second commonest cancer in men, kills 14 men in Nigeria every day. This is not acceptable because it can be prevented," he lamented.

He disclosed that prostate cancer usually gives no early signs , however, when the person already has the early stages of it, prostate cancer can show signs such as urination problems-frequency, urgency, slow stream, incomplete emptying- can be related to prostate cancer and narrowing of the urethra.

He lamented the dearth of facilities saying "India has over 120 comprehensive cancer centers and we don't have even one centre here that has everything to take care of any kind of cancer and that can carry out world class research in Nigeria even after 50 years of Independence."

"We need something like this in our country, because apart from the fact that those that have money, can afford it and travel out for treatment, what of those that cannot?

"In Nigeria, cancer is like a death sentence that is why most deaths here are unnecessary; they are untimely deaths.

"When we had the Dana crash, we were all shouting, but each day after that, many people are dying of cancer. Because, they are dying silently, we are not doing anything about it."

He pointed out that the prevention should be through life style modification, screening and routine checkups, at least once a year for those men who are 40 years and above.

He said that regular exercises, weight loss and imbibing the culture of health maintenance could reduce the risk by 50 per cent.

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