By Angela Atabo
Abuja, Oct.17, 2020 Members of the National Association of Seadogs (Pirates Confraternity), Sahara Deck Abuja, on Saturday advocated free and compulsory prostate cancer test for men over 40 years of age in Nigeria.
The members of the association made the call during the association’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Walk in Abuja.
Dr Joseph Oteri, a member of the Sahara Deck, said that the prostate gland is a small walnut-sized gland in men located below the bladder, in front of the rectum , produces seminal fluid and transports sperm.
According to him, the prostate gland, if not maintained with a good lifestyle, has a chance of becoming cancerous.
“Prostate cancer is one of the killer diseases that affect men above 40 years of age in the past.
“But recently, there has been cases of people dying or having prostate cancer even earlier than 40 years,’’ he said.
“It is something that people can actually discern; there is something we call Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA), so men who are 40 years and above should do a PSA at least twice in a year.
“The PSA is supposed to reveal the levels of protein produced by the prostate that when elevated, can indicate if one is going to have enlargement or cancer.
“Most men hardly go for the test, even doctors hardly do.
“So, there is a department in charge of cancer research at the Ministry of Health where we can advocate that they find a means to make the PSA test free and compulsory.
“If you are going to marry, they will tell you to bring your genotype result to know if you are compatible with your spouse to avoid risk of bearing children with sickle cell.
“So, let us also say that as you are recruiting workers, ask them for PSA test, or on a yearly basis ask the workers to do their PSA. In some offices, they do that, of which is good ,’’ he said.
Oteri said that the prostate gland if enlarged, would affect urine flow and when it gets cancerous, it would move to the bones, from the bones to the lungs and result to death.
On the risk factors , he said: “The incidence of prostate cancer is not very high but once men get to 40 years and above, the risk would start multiplying.
“The risk is even more if one’s father had history of prostate cancer or enlargement.’’
Oteri advised wives to encourage their husbands to go for PSA test, eat good diet and also maintain a good lifestyle.
He advised that eating of fruits especially tomato could regulate the prostate glands.
“Also, taking of vitamins, exercising and reduction in the intake of alcohol and cigarette would help in fighting prostate cancer,’’ he said.
Also, Mr Victor Ofili, Capoon, Sahara Deck, said that the primary goal of prostate cancer screenings was to reduce deaths rate through early detection and prompt management .
Ofili said that the purpose of the awareness walk was to sensitise adult males about prostate cancer and the available screening tests.
He called on governments at all levels to make provisions for affordable routine checks for prostate cancer and improve the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) for accessible and affordable healthcare.
“The association’s medical team have highlighted some predisposing factors to prostate cancer to include one’s family history of cancer ,high-fat diet and obesity ,smoking living a sedentary lifestyle.’’
Ofili advised men above the age of 40 to go for regular medical screening consisting of digital rectal examination, PSA, urinary and blood tests, biomarkers screening and also to be conscious of their diet.
According to him, if tested positive, early treatment should commence.
Mr John Oke, Executive Director, Spiritual and Welfare, NAS, said that the organisation was at a point where the average age of its member was around 35 and 40, thus the need to create awareness on prostate cancer.
Oke said that beyond the confraternity, the association was also looking at how to raise awareness about prostate cancer among Nigerians to know the available treatment options as “prevention is cheaper and better than cure’’.
He said that the association recently visited the Karu General Hospital made donations of test kits and held health talks to sensitise people on the scourge and prevention of prostate cancer.