Early Tests Prevent Castration, Prostate Cancer Deaths

Submitting to an early test for prostate cancer and living a healthy lifestyle are the surest ways of preventing death through prostate cancer, Professor Roger Sinclair Kirby, a renowned British Urologist, has said. He has therefore advised men, especially those who have a family history of prostate cancer, to go for early and regular tests to prevent cancer of their prostate, which could eventually lead to castration or death if there was late detection. Castration brings about a reduction in the cell growth and a fall in the Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) or value. Professor Kirby was speaking at a public lecture on �Prostate awareness and total wellness in men� organised by the Rotary Club of Accra on Monday and sponsored by Ecobank, Rana Motors and the Golden Tulip Hotel. The Urologist, who is the Director of the Prostate Centre in London, UK, also said the prostate could be surgically removed to prevent cancer, if a man was done having children, without affecting his health. �So the prostate is an organ that is essential for a man who wants to have a family but if you have had your family like I have had three children, you no longer need the prostate really.� The prostate is like the size of a chestnut which enlarges to the size of a tangerine and sits at the base of the bladder. PSA Test Prof Kirby asked men to regularly check for prostate enlargement just as women checked for lumps when looking out for breast cancer, by engaging in a PSA test. �Like breast cancer, women know that if they feel a lump in their breast they go and see a surgeon, but what men are often reluctant to do, is to have a PSA test or have a prostate checked, to see if there is a lump in the prostate and get themselves sorted,� he stated. He said prostate cancer was a genetic disease and that everyone carried genes that could form cancers �but there is a nuclear component within the DNA of the prostate that allows a sequential development to prostate cancer that spreads. �We know now there are 73 genes which we call prostate cancer susceptibility genes, so if you have some of these genes, then you are more likely than average to develop prostate cancer.� The urologist, himself a living proof of the efficacy of prostate cancer treatment, said the first way of detecting prostate cancer, is to have a digital erect examination, where a PSA measurement is taken. He said diagnosis of the cancer is done by CT scan or a biopsy (transrectal or transperineal) for the surgeon to know the location of the tumour which is graded by a pathologist. Prof Kirby however stated that not all prostates needed treatment, and that some required monitoring through active surveillance to see what happened to the tumours, adding that only about a third needed treatment. He listed some of the treatments for prostate cancer as the use of radio therapy, high intensity focused ultrasound, radical prostatectomy, robotic prostatectomy and a drug, Enzalutamide, which costs �2,500 per month for treatment. Prof Kirby said there was however no evidence yet of herbal treatment for prostate cancer. Treating prostate cancer in Ghana In an interview with the Daily Graphic, a Consultant Urologist at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Emeritus Prof. Edward D. Yeboah, said Ghana currently has 28 urologists who can be found at Korle Bu, the Effia Nkwanta Hospital in Sekondi, the Cape Coast Regional Hospital, Koforidua Regional Hospital, Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital, Kumasi and the Tamale Regional Hospital. He said early treatment of prostate cancer in Ghana, which can last up to a month, costs between GH�3,000 and GH�20,000. He added that about 1,500 cases had been handled at the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital to date, with some patients who detected the cancer late undergoing treatment through radiotherapy for over 15 years. In his closing remarks as chairman for the lecture, Prof Yeboah said the highest PSA found in Ghana was 29,000, adding that the patient survived for a year after undergoing castration. He noted however, that the average PSA measurement was now 59 and that �Fortunately, now we see 62 per cent of the cases at Korle Bu are now stage one to two.� Retired Methodist Church Bishop, William Blankson, appealed to the government to make the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) cover the treatment of prostate cancer. He told the Daily Graphic that one of the drugs he was taking to treat the disease cost him GH�10 a day, which was having a toll on his pension. �It�s getting to about GH�400 and yet the NHIS does not cover. It is affecting my finances very much,� he said.