Men who are 40 years and above, have been advised to have periodic Prostate Serum Antigen (PSA) tests to ascertain the health status of their prostate.
The PSA test is a blood test used primarily to screen for prostate cancer.
The test measures the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) in the blood.
Regular screening for prostate cancer, according to Vice President of the Cancer Support Network Ghana (CSNGH) Mr Eric Odei Brobbey reveals abnormalities at early stages and increases survival of the disease.
Speaking in an interview with the Ghanaian Times in Accra yesterday, he bemoaned that prostate cancer was the leading cause of death among men in Ghana, adding that regular screening could go a long way in salvaging the situation.
He also cautioned against ignoring the risk factors and signs of prostate cancer, adding that “When you pay proper attention to your body you can easily notice changes and seek prompt medical attention, especially persons with strong history of cancer in their families, instead of ignoring certain symptoms which could turn out to be prostate cancer.”
He also mentioned that aside a strong cancer history in families, certain lifestyles, environmental factors and hormonal imbalances were contributory factors to the disease.
He stressed that since the early stages of the diseases usually presented no symptoms at all so it was advisable for men to “be mindful of their prostate health.”
Symptoms of an enlarged prostate, Mr Brobbey said included frequent urination especially at night, dribbling of urine and painful ejaculation, adding that these signs could also indicate cancer.
According to him, many sufferers of the disease in Ghana visit the hospital after the cancer had reached an advanced stage, stressing that this was why periodic screening was very necessary.
Explaining he said advanced prostate cancer could lead to paralysis, anemia, kidney failure, swollen scrotum as a result of accumulated fluid, stroke and severe back ache among others.
“Mostly before you see or experience the manifestation of these signs it means the cancer has already spread to other parts of the body that is why we keep stressing on routine screening” he added.
Prostate cancer, he said, when detected early was curable and therefore urged suffers of the disease who were on treatment to do away with fear.
“This disease is curable especially when detected early so please focus on your treatment and stop entertaining any kind of fear. There are many survivors of prostate cancer so see yourselves as individuals who would soon add to the number of persons who won the fight against the disease,” he added.
Mr Brobbey also cautioned against defaulting approved methods of treatment for unapproved ones like herbal treatment.
In furtherance, he called on the National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) to incorporate the treatment of the disease unto the scheme because of the high cost of treatment as many resort to unapproved prostate cancer treatment centres due to the inability to afford treatment for the disease at the hospitals.
When it comes to prostate cancer support, Mr Brobbey who is also a health practitioner at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Accra, said CSNGH had provided supported to many sufferers of the disease and called on individuals and organisations to include support for cancer patients in their philanthropic activities.
BY RAISSA SAMBOU