Ghanaian medical officer recommends testing for prostate cancer

According to a report from the Ghana News Agency last Friday, Dr. Alfred Adjei of the Volta River Authority Hospital is encouraging men aged 40 to have appropriate tests for risk of prostate cancer. Early detection enables patients to be treated effectively, before the cancer can spread, while later detection may mean that the cancer has already spread beyond the prostate gland.

Dr. Adjei appealed to women to encourage their husbands, fathers, and other men to get tested annually for this form of cancer.

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Beware of what you may read!

An article online in The East African on Saturday could be misleading for African men.

This article states that, “The blood test used to screen for prostate cancer saves very few lives. And it leads to risky and unnecessary treatments for large numbers of men, two studies have found.” And this statement is true … in America and Europe, where the two studies were carried out, and where PSA testing has been widespread for 20 years.

However, the situation in Africa is very different. For starters, the risk for prostate cancer among black Africans appears to be higher than it is even for African Americans. Second, most Africans have not been being tested for prostate cancer for the past 20 years. It would be completely inappropriate to apply the results of these two studies to men on the African continent at this time.

Prostate cancer risk in men of African descent

Odedina et al. have reviewed available data on the incidence, prevalence, and mortality rates of  prostate cancer among African Americans, Afro-Caribbeans, and men in West African nations historically associated with the trans-Atlantic slave trade. They note the very high incidence of prostate cancer among all these groups, which appears to reflect an ancestral genetic predisposition for prostate cancer. They also note that the morbidity and mortality of prostate cancer among African Americans has been falling since 1991; however, the rate of that fall is less that among Caucasian Americans.

Major screening initiative starts up in Lagos, Nigeria

According to the Vanguard online, the Lagos State Government this week kicked off the second phase of a free prostate cancer awareness and screening program. This initiative is based on the premise that as many as 14 million Nigerian men may be afflicted with prostate cancer, the most common cause of cancer death in Nigerian men aged 50 and above. … READ MORE …