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Monday, August 31, 2015

#HNNHealth The URGENT CRISIS of #Prostate Cancer in #Nigeria and why many men MAY DIE in 2015/2016

By Dr Kemi Omololu-Olunloyo (Special to and @HealthReports)

Many men may die in the next September is National Prostate Cancer awareness month. Many men in Nigeria have been diagnosed of Prostate cancer in Nigeria but most importantly many have died of it, months if left untreated. Some have not even heard or done their PSA test. others have gone public telling the world about their stories of pain and many are public figures. Several high profile public figures in Nigeria have either been diagnosed or have died of Prostate cancer in the last 12 months. Alhaji Abdulazeez Arisekola, Pa Idibia (Tuface's father), Emir Ado Bayero, are just examples of those that died in the last 12 months. Some living with it it include my own father Victor Omololu Olunloyo, Prof Wole Soyinka, Bishop Desmond Tutu, and even President Buhari among others. Most Nigerians are in denial that it even exists especially men in their 40's and 50's.

Lets take a look at the Prostate gland. The prostate gland is located below the bladder and in front of the rectum. A cancer in a man's prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland that produces seminal fluid. It is the second most common cancer in men after skin cancer. No one knows what the exact figures of men diagnosed in Nigeria is, with many uneducated about it, they just hear about the prominent figures that have it. The size of the prostate changes with age and it is fueled by male hormones like testosterone as well as growing faster with puberty. The prostate’s job is to make some of the fluid that protects and nourishes sperm cells in semen, making the semen more liquid so yes it has a lot to do with sexual health.

According to the American Cancer Society manual, the inner part of the prostate (around the urethra) often keeps growing as men get older, which can lead to a common condition called benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). In BPH, the prostate tissue can press on the urethra, leading to problems passing urine.

BPH is not cancer and does not develop into cancer. But it can be a serious problem for some men. If it requires treatment, medicines can often be used to shrink the size of the prostate or to relax the muscles in it, which usually helps with urine flow. If medicines aren’t helpful, some type of surgery, such as a transurethral resection of the prostate (TURP) may be needed. Early symptoms may not show much but advanced stages of this cancer can show blood in urine, erectile dysfunction, problems passing urine, weakness or numbness of the feet or even pain in the bones (hips and back) where the cancer has spread to.

Several types of cells are found in the prostate, but almost all prostate cancers develop from the gland cells (the cells that make the prostate fluid that is added to the semen). The medical term for a cancer that starts in gland cells is adenocarcinoma. There are other types of prostate like cancers but most are usually adenocarcinomas. Some prostate cancers can grow and spread quickly, but most grow slowly. In fact, autopsy studies show that many older men (and even some younger men) who died of other causes also had prostate cancer that never affected them during their lives. In many cases neither they nor their doctors even knew they had it.

So men asks me daily how they can get checked for prostate cancer. The PSA test which is often used is now being said is not as reliable. I still highly recommend it for men in Nigeria who have no access to these tests easily because of lack of knowledge. Treatment can be successful if the cancer is diagnosed early with the PSA found in urine. But that test often gives false alarms or identifies cancers that develop so slowly they don’t require treatment. However learn to ask your doctor questions as early detection is still the key to survival. the local villagers and illiterates who do not know anything about this condition need to be educated drastically by health departments.

The herbs Echinacea and Saw Palmetto are great nutritional supplements for good prostate health and can be purchased at any chemist in Nigeria. In adavance stages, prescription drugs like Proscar (Finasteride) and Dutasteride (Avodart) are safe ones to manage patients. Remember always ask your health professional questions regarding your prostate health.

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