Foundation to provide free prostate cancer test to 2,000 men

The Project Pink Blue, a Non-Governmental Organisation in Abuja, has said that 2, 000 Nigerian men would benefit from its free prostate cancer test, ‘‘Men on Blue’’ prostate cancer campaign.

Mr Runcie Chidebe, PPB’s Executive Director, said this on Saturday in Abuja that the foundation, in partnership with Aspire Coronation Trust (ACT) foundation, had commenced the test in Abuja.

He said the test would continue till Aug. 31 before moving to Lagos and Enugu.

Chidebe, who was represented by Sarah Dantsoho, PPB’s Programmes Director, said that prostate cancer had become very common among Nigerian men.

He said that prostate cancer was prevalent in old men, stressing that the growth could be more aggressive in African men compared to men of other races.

‘‘Men aged 65 years or older are more at risk of prostate cancer and the average age at the time of diagnosis is about 66 years, hence it is rare in younger men.

‘‘However, with the increasing rate of prostate cancer, men aged 40 and above are encouraged to get screened,’’ he said.

Chidebe said that research carried out had shown that several factors might affect a man’s risk of getting the cancer.

He noted that six in 10 cases of prostate cancer were found in men older than 65 years, adding that family history or genetic factors might double a man’s risk of developing the disease.

‘‘Poor diet, obesity, smoking, exposure to certain chemicals, sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and vasectomy can increase the risk level also,’’ he explained.

He expressed regret that several families had lost their loved members in Nigeria to prostate cancer because it was reported to the doctor at a very late stage.

According to him, several families have lost their fathers, uncles, brothers, and in laws to this disease as a result of late detection.

‘‘Most cases are presented in their late stages when the cancer has spread to other parts of the man’s body like the bones, lymph, nodes, etc,’’ Chidebe said.

He said cancer that remained in the primary site does not kill thereby emphasising the importance of the organisation’s blue campaign.
Chidebe noted that the NGO’s awareness and free screening was to encourage early detection of the disease.

He revealed that over 100 awareness materials had been distributed in different Nigerian languages, adding that over 300 men had also received prostate specific antigen (PSA) test free of charge.

He said that a PSA test would cost N6, 000 to N10, 000 at diagnostic centres.

He, however, said all the 2,000 men would be getting the screenings for free courtesy of the funding from ACT foundation.

Chidebe urged Nigerians to take their health more seriously and advised that eating habits in men aged 40 years and above should be nutritious and well balanced.

The executive director also urged companies and owners of private establishment to focus on the health of its workforce by incorporating prostate cancer screenings as part of its incentives or annual events.

He appealed to government at all levels to match their commitment also with actionable investments in addressing the burden of cancer.
Veteran Nolly wood actors, Elder Bruno Iwuoha, Agility Onwura and Mr Tony Ezimadu were seen at the screening centre to endorse the campaign.

News Agency of Nigerian (NAN) reports that the Men on Blue campaign was sponsored by ACT foundation, a grant making organisation, established to support local, national and regional non- profit organisations.

The Project Pink-Blue Health and Psychological Trust centre is a cancer fighting organisation engaged in cancer awareness, oncology education, provision of free cancer and advocacy for better care for cancer patients. (NAN)