Prostate cancer remains a huge burden to Nigerian men who are diagnosed with the ailment as it is the leading killer disease in men in the country. Around 1 in 9 males will receive a diagnosis of prostate cancer at some point in their life. However, only 1 in 41 of these will die as a result of it.
Cancer is the leading cause of death worldwide and about 70% of all cancer deaths occurred in low- and middle-income countries. It is a group of diseases involving abnormal cell growth. There are more than 100 types of cancer with breast cancer topping the chart as the most common.
Data from the WHO records 14 million cases and 8.2 million deaths in 2012 globally, while 18.1 million new cases and 9.6 million deaths were recorded in 2018. With this trend, WHO predicts that cancer in Africa will double from 1,055,172 new cases in 2018 to 2,123,245 cases by 2040. In Nigeria, WHO estimated the number of deaths in the country at 41,000 out of 166,000 cases recorded in 2018.
The Prostate cancer is the least recorded disease in the country because the Nigerian male population is an unscreened group as the disease is more aggressive and discovered at later stages.
In a country with large population, high level of illiteracy and the poverty level, there exists little information about the overall deaths rate. In 2019, the American Cancer Society (ACS) predict that there will be around 174,650 new diagnoses of prostate cancer and around 31,620 deaths from this type of cancer.
Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in males, but it is treatable in the early stages. In Sub-Saharan Africa and Nigeria, the key drivers of the diseases are in tobacco use, alcohol consumption, sedentary lifestyle, polluted environments, and unhealthy diets.
However, according to an Urologist and the Head of Surgery Department at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, Port Harcourt, Ovunda Omudu, Prostate cancer can be avoided by eating consumables like red tomatoes, green tea, sea foods such as periwinkles and snails and regular exercises.
It is quite disheartening that most cancer patients in Nigeria are diagnosed at a late stage and the prognosis for a positive outcome is lessened even in cases where treatment is available and affordable. Even after diagnosed the process of accessibility and affordable is resource draining. Right from the registration procedure to the treatment, fighting the disease is very expensive. And few centers offer treatment. According to reports, the diagnosis for men could cost about N147, 000 and more while the surgery and chemotherapy sessions could cost over a million naira.
It is quite sad that Nigeria constitutes 72% countries where patients pay out of their pockets to treat the disease, it is a famous trend for Nigerians to rally around friends, family and well-wishes and turn to social media to raise funds for treatment.
Nigeria would continue to experience a rise in the scourge if stringent measures are not taken by the government, local communities to consider the inclusion of cancer treatment in the health insurance coverage for all Nigerians.