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Above 40? Screen for Prostate Cancer

Prostate cancer is the most common cancer in men in Nigeria, with mortality rate of over 80 per cent. Nevertheless, experts say, this mortality rate can be avoided if prostate cancer is detected and treated early.
Statistics by the World Health Organisation (WHO) show that in Nigeria within a period of four years, there was an increase in death rate among men caused by prostate cancer. The statistics show that prostate cancer kills 26 men daily, up from 14 men. However, a medical laboratory scientist, Alabi Adebowale, has said that every man above 40 years should screen for prostate cancer, adding that regular screening would ensure that the disease is detected early and managed properly.
Adebowale gave the advice at the free prostate cancer screening organised by the United Bank for Africa in Lagos. “Prostate cancer in the curable stage has no symptoms. Men who have reached the age of 40 should begin testing for prostate cancer. It can be detected through screening exercise when it is asymptomatic. This measures the level of prostatespecific antigen in the blood. Prostate gland cells manufacture this antigen, whether normal or cancerous,” he said.
Corroborating his statement, Director of the International Agency for Research on Cancer, WHO’s cancer arm, Dr Christopher Wild, noted that, “Despite exciting advances, this report shows that we cannot treat our way out of the cancer problem. More commitment to prevention and early detection is desperately needed in order to complement improved treatments and address the alarming rise in cancer burden globally.”
Adebowale urged men to eat fresh vegetables such as tomatoes to reduce their chance of developing prostate cancer. “Lycopene-rich foods such as fresh tomatoes and tomato products are potential effectors in the prevention and therapy of prostate cancer. This provides an overview on the efficacy of supplementation with tomatoes, tomato products and lycopene on appropriate surrogate endpoint biomarker such as metabolite of the insulin-like growth factor pathway in healthy individuals and prostate cancer patients.
“Consumption of a diet rich in lycopene reduces the aggressive potential of prostate cancer by inhibiting the neoangiogenesis (the mechanism in cancer that permits the creation of new blood vessels to supply cancerous tumours and ensure their growth) that occurs in tumour development. Higher lycopene intake is associated with lower angiogenic potential in tumours based on vessel size and shape,” Adebowale said.
Prostate cancer is the development of cancer in the prostate, a gland in the male reproductive system. Most prostate cancers are slow-growing; however, some grow relatively fast. The cancer cells may spread from the prostate to other parts of the body, particularly the bones and lymph nodes. It may initially cause no symptoms. In later stages it can cause difficulty urinating, blood in the urine, or pain in the pelvis, back or when urinating.
A disease known as benign prostatic hyperplasia may produce similar symptoms. Other late symptoms may include feeling tired due to low levels of red blood cells. Factors that increase the risk of prostate cancer include: old age, a family history of the disease, and race. About 99 per cent of cases occur in those over the age of 50. Having a first degree relative with the disease increases the risk two to three folds, according to Wikipedia.

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