Prostate cancer is cancer that occurs in the prostate. The prostate is a small walnut-shaped gland in males that produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm. Prostate cancer is one of the most common types of cancer.
According to a study published in the Journal of the West African College of Surgeons, between 2013 to 2022, 234 males in Ghana passed away from prostate cancer.
According to the research, the disease’s aggressiveness and its slow diagnosis were to blame for the deaths.
The clinical records of male patients who passed away from the disease at a tertiary hospital in Ghana ranged in age from 40 to 90 years, according to the paper.
The majority of fatalities occurred in men between the ages of 60 and 79.
51.3% of the 234 fatalities happened within two years after diagnosis, 23% passed away between two and five years following diagnosis, and 25% survived for more than five years.
The survey also revealed a slow acceptance of newer treatment approaches for metastatic prostate cancer, supporting prior research that indicated blacks have worse results as a result of the aggressiveness of the illness.
Cancer that develops in the prostate is known as prostate cancer (PCa). In 2020, it will be the fifth greatest cause of cancer mortality among males and the second most common cancer to be diagnosed globally.
At Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, PCa is the most prevalent form of male cancer and the second leading cause of cancer-related mortality in Ghana.
In its early stages, the condition might not cause symptoms, but as it progresses, it may cause symptoms including difficulty peeing, decreased urine force, blood in the urine and sperm, bone pain, and weight loss without trying, and erectile dysfunction.
Only once the illness has spread to other body parts does it cause death.
More than 80% of men who died from prostate cancer had advanced disease, as seen by high PSA levels, a high T stage on the Digital Rectal Examination (DRE), and symptoms of metastasis, according to the data.
Patients who were diagnosed with metastatic illness had a 21.2% five-year survival rate.
“43.6 per cent presented with haemoglobin levels below 10ng/dl at diagnosis. These patients had the worst outcome, with 73 per cent dying less than two years after diagnosis,” it stated.
Less than 10% received treatment intensification using chemotherapy or newer generation antiandrogens, with more than 80% treated with bilateral complete orchidectomy.
Early reporting and diagnosis decreased illness mortality, according to Professor James Edward Mensah, Head of the Department of Surgery at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital and President of the Ghana Association of Urological Surgeons.
He said that some people only went to the doctor after they had back pain or urinary issues as a result of the disease spreading to their bones and spinal cord.
“Some even wasted time and resources seeking care at herbal clinics where they were mismanaged for enlarged prostate (Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia) before being referred when symptoms worsened,” he added.
In order to improve illness outcomes, Prof. Mensah emphasized the need of early identification and effective care.
He advised people to be checked up as soon as they can and to be informed about the dangers and signs of prostate cancer.
Men having a higher risk of developing the disease, such as black men and men with a family history of prostate cancer, were encouraged by the urologist to have PSA blood testing and biopsies.
By the age of 40 or older, they should see their doctors for effective care.
Prostate cancer comes in several different varieties. Many people with the condition might not pass away from it.
“Currently, all treatment modalities for localized prostate cancer, including watchful waiting, active surveillance, open radical prostatectomy, brachytherapy, and external beam radiotherapy, are available in the country,” he stated
Prof. Mensah emphasized the necessity of educating medical professionals in more specialized fields and making sure that all areas of the nation have access to the equipment required for prostate surgeries.