PROSTATE AWARENESS Foundation, a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO), has commended government for the 2008 budget allocation to enhance the awareness of the benefit of early detection of breast and prostate cancer.
This initiative, the Foundation said, would help shift the policy orientation of the health of the citizenry.
In an exclusive interview with DAILY GUIDE, George K. Owusu, Project Manager and a prostate cancer patient, averred that government's support for NGOs and civil societies would go a long way to save victims of cancer from early death.
“When people affected with cancer detect the disease through screening, they are able to avoid lifestyles that would endanger their health,” he said.
He stressed that one out of every three Ghanaian men aged 40 years and above is at risk of prostrate cancer, making the incidence of the disease more alarming in the country. He added that only three percent of these men were open-minded on the subject of the disease, putting a lot at risk.
Mr. Owusu said many men have died of prostate cancer, and that their death has rather been attributed to diabetes. This is because prostrate cancer and diabetes have one symptom in common which is frequent urination. Stigmatization of people affected with the cancer, he stressed, had also contributed to its high incidence in the country.
“Most times, people having the disease are perceived as womanizers. This has prevented victims from accepting the fact that they have the symptoms,” he added.
Prostate cancer, Mr. Owusu contended, is the most common cancer in elderly men, and the second most common cause of cancer-related death in men.
“A survey conducted at the Korle–Bu Teaching Hospital indicated that Ghana has exceeded the global prostrate cancer limit as the country records 200 cases out of every 100,000 men as against 170 worldwide,” he added.
According to the patient, there are 30,000 new cases a year in the UK; 215,000 in the USA; 20,000 in Canada and 12,000 new cases a year in Australia.
He called on Ghanaian men to cultivate the habit of regular prostate screening.
He also asked government to prioritize education on the disease by including it in the nation's school curricula to help enhance awareness among the youth.
Hinting DAILY GUIDE on the activities of the Prostate Awareness Foundation (PAF), the Project Director noted that the Foundation, established in August 2006, aims to raise awareness among Ghanaians on the existence of prostatic disorders among men through workshops, seminars, talks and other sensitizing methods.
This, he said, would give the Foundation the opportunity to bring victims and potential victims together to share ideas and experiences.
Mr. Owusu is using this medium to appeal to all stakeholders to adhere to the importance of early screening for prostate cancer to help protect human lives.
By Henrietta Abayie