Prostate cancer and its management by Prof. Oladapo Ashiru
A recent survey showed that there are far more cases of prostatic enlargement and prostate cancer in Nigeria that have been reported. It is should, therefore, be of serious concern to everyone.
Previously, it was reported that in 1999, there were approximately 334,888 new cases of prostate cancer in the United States of America leading to 41,000 deaths.
According to WHO statistics, over 100,000 Nigerians are diagnosed with cancer annually, and about 80,000 die from the disease, averaging 240 Nigerians every day or 10 Nigerians every hour, dying from cancer.
The Nigerian cancer death ratio of four in five is one of the worst in the whole world.
In December 2013, the United Kingdom prostate update gave the following alarming facts about prostate cancer:
- Every hour, one man dies from prostate cancer – that’s more than 10,000 every year.
- Over 40,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year – that is more than 100 men diagnosed every day.
- It is estimated that by 2030, prostate cancer will be the most common cancer.
- One in eight men will get prostate cancer.
Also, in October 2015 it was reported that in the UK about one in eight men will develop prostate cancer at some point in their lives, with older men and those with a family history of prostate cancer are most at risk. In Nigeria, every now and then you hear of someone who just died of prostate cancer.
This disease occurs most frequently in elderly men – 72 years and above. Even though we are not keeping statistics for the number of new cases and deaths in Nigeria for this preventable disease, the American example is relevant for us here because there are significant racial differences that are negative for the African male.
For example, for the African-American male of age 50-54, the incidence of prostate cancer is twice as high as the Caucasian-American, and it is one third higher for the African American of all ages.
For all Asian men, the incidence of this cancer is relatively low. It is not known what causes this racial difference, but genetics must surely play a part.
Diet is another factor that cannot be ruled out as African-American soul food closely mimics many Nigerian diets of pork, beans and greens cooked with plenty of oil and fat. This is, therefore, a black man’s disease that Nigerian men should be concerned about.
Beyond the early diagnosis, there must also be prevention. The number one factors to help prevent prostate cancer are the use of orthomolecular supplements, starting with calcium, zinc, magnesium, lycopene and more.
The prostate gland is a walnut-sized organ located under the bladder, surrounding the urinary tract of men.
It secretes a fluid that forms part of the seminal fluid, which is part of the semen produced at ejaculation after intercourse.
Prostate cancer is primarily a disease of the aged. So as men age, they should take note of the following symptoms and if they have them, they should definitely pay a visit to a doctor.
A slow urination, especially when the last few drops do not expel easily, you should raise the alarm, and you should also let the doctor check you out if you notice any change in urination as described below:
- Frequently going to urinate – This is termed Progressive Urinary Frequency.
- The constant urge to urinate and empty bladder, called Urgency.
- Nocturia, which is passing urine in the night.
- Difficulty in passing urine, termed Hesitancy.
- Reduced force of urination.
- Reduced projectile pressure of urine (ejaculatory pressure).
- Blood in the urine.
What causes the prostrate to enlarge and become cancerous?
Aging, stress, chemical toxins that may be from the use of chemical products like dye, polluted water, and contaminated food, especially with heavy metals, genetics and infection, have been identified as some of the factors that can lead to the enlargement of the prostate gland.
With aging, there are hormonal changes associated with getting older, such as decreased production of the male testosterone, prolactin and stress-related hormone will increase with age.
High prolactin level in the blood will lead to an increase in the uptake of testosterone in the prostate gland, which will result in the production of another male hormone called Di-Hydro-testoterone (DHT). High levels of DHT in the prostate gland will enlarge the prostrate.
A stressful lifestyle also does not help the prostrate. This will usually cause an increase in the level of circulating prolactin hormone.
The net result is elevated DHT and subsequent prostate enlargement. Prostate cancer is highly related to genetic factors, if one member of a family has prostate cancer it is highly likely that other male members of the family will get it also.
To be continued.