Statistics indicate that about 1,000 men are diagnosed of prostate cancer every year, and an estimated of 800 die of the disease annually, figures that have compelled President John Dramani to devote himself as a Chief Advocate of Prostate Cancer, since his father suffered a similar fatal fate.
“I am aware of prostate cancer, because my father died of prostate cancer. And so I know what he went through… so it made me very aware of prostate cancer,” he said.
A prostate cancer patient goes through the aches of dullness, stiffness in the pelvis, low back and ribs, or upper thighs and pain in the bone.
Other symptoms associated with prostate cancer include loss of appetite and weight, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and swollen of lower extremities.
The Chief Prostate Cancer advocate shared how cancers have had devastating toll on his family, adding, “My step-mother died of breast cancer, so it made me very aware of breast cancer too.”
President Mahama made these statements on a Koforidua-based radio station, GBC Sunrise, last week, when he was questioned on whether he will consider declaring Father’s Day as National Prostate Cancer Day.
Even though he didn’t answer yes or no, the first gentleman indicated: “I believe we must create awareness of prostate cancer, because it is the number one killer of men. And most people die of ignorance.”
He, however, advised men to visit the hospital regularly to have their prostate-specific antigen (PSA) taken, saying: “The PSA is a test done to see whether the prostate is giving a signal. And if it goes above a certain figure, you need to know whether it rising or declining, if it is rising, then you must go for a biopsy.”
The PSA is a protein produced by cells of the prostate gland. The PSA test measures the level of PSA in a man’s blood. For this test, a blood sample is sent to a laboratory for analysis. The results are usually reported as nanograms of PSA per milliliter (ng/mL) of blood.
He added that men must be aware of their prostate health, by, at least, visiting the hospital twice every year, stressing: “I call on all my colleague men, you know, at least twice every year you do a PSA test, and make sure your PSA numbers are not rising, if they are rising, consult your doctor.”
President Mahama further urged his male counterparts to consider their lifestyle choices, as it is believed that prostate cancer is a result of lifestyle, “depending on what you are doing, smoking or eating late, or you are obese or things like that.”
Aside, these predisposing factors, he drew public attention to occupation hazards and chemicals that workers are exposed to, which can also increase the risk of prostate cancer.
He called on all men to come together, just as the women had done with breast cancer, to advocate against prostate cancer, and also have its treatment listed on the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS).
However, scientists have found some ways that can help reduce the risk of prostate cancer, which is choosing a healthy diet – choose a low-fat diet – eating more fruits and vegetables, and fat from plants than from animal.