prostate cancer in Nigeria: epidemiology, awareness, screening, symptoms & treatment

A review of prostate cancer in Nigeria.

Prostate cancer is the most common malignancy in Nigerian men. In most men with prostate cancer, the disease grow very slowly and is only detected when it has become advanced. Most Nigerian men are prone to prostate cancer but the awareness is very poor and screening for the presence or absence of the disease is not common.

statistics/epidemiology of prostate cancer in Nigeria

Prostate cancer is a leading cancer diagnosis and cause of cancer related deaths among men. It is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among Nigerian men with an estimated hospital prevalence of between 127 to 185.5 per 100,000 male admissions in the hospital.

A survey carried out in 1997 to find out the prevalence of prostate cancer in Lagos showed that 43 out of 341 men had prostate cancer.

Until large scale population studies are done in the country, the actual population prevalence will be difficult to estimate.

awareness of prostate cancer in Nigeria

Prostate cancer awareness is very poor in Nigeria. This is despite the fact that it is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in the the country. Routine screening for prostate cancer is not a common practice. As a result, majority of patients come to the hospital when the disease is already advanced.

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Risk factors/causes of prostate cancer in Nigeria

The cause of prostate cancer is unknown. However it has been associated with the following risk factors.

  • Age- the risk of prostate cancer increases with age, especially after 50 years of age. About 80 percent of prostate cancers are diagnosed in men who are 65 years or older.
  • Race/ethnicity: Blacks have higher risk of prostate whites. They are also more likely to develop prostate cancer at an earlier age and the cancers are more aggressive and grow rapidly.
  • family history: when family members have had it, your risk increases.
  • Diet-fatty foods
  • obesity
  • smoking
  • alcohol
  • exposure to radiation

symptoms of prostate cancer

The symptoms are:

  • difficulty passing urine
  • frequency (increased number of times you urinate)
  • nocturia (frequent urination at night)
  • intermittent stop and start pattern urination
  • urgent inability to postpone urination
  • applying force during urination
  • feeling of incomplete voiding/urination
  • poor urine stream
  • blood in urine
  • Advanced prostate cancer in addition to the above symptoms may present with weight loss, back pains, anemia, loss of appetite, jaundice, cough,tiredness, and paralysis all due to spread of the disease.

Screening for prostate cancer in Nigeria

Screening helps men check for early signs of prostate cancer. It helps doctors look for cancer before you have symptoms or signs. When cancer is found earlier, it is often at an early stage. This means that there is a better chance of successfully treating the cancer. To screen for prostate cancer, a man needs a digital rectal examination (DRE) and a prostate specific antigen(PSA).

prostate cancer treatment in Nigeria

This depends on the stage of the disease. In early state prostate cancer, the entire prostate is removed in an operation called radical prostatectomy. Prostatectomy costs between N180,000 to N200,000 in Nigeria depending on the centre.

If the cancer is advanced or in a late stage, the following treatment modalities are available….

  • chemotherapy
  • hormone therapy
  • radiotherapy
  • surgery to remove your testicles (orchiectomy)
  • Immunotherapy

Read more on Mayoclinic

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