BY: Kwame Sherrif Awiagah (BSc, MPhil)

Courtesy by National Cancer Institute

The month of September is a particular month set aside for awareness creation for many different types of cancer affecting humanity. The month is observed by many international and national organizations promoting a specific kind of cancer awareness. The month is inundated with awareness campaigns, public lectures, seminars, health screening, and public policy advocacy to support some types of cancers. One of such cancers is Prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is primarily a disease of men affecting mostly men aged 40years and above, rarely below 40years. In September, termed the blue month, you are implored to take action against prostate cancer.

Epidemiology of Prostate cancer

The international agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) estimates that one (1) out of every three (3) men aged 40 years and above is at risk of prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is the 2nd most diagnosed cancer worldwide, and the 6th leading cause of cancer deaths among men globally. An estimated 1,276,000 new prostate cancer cases and 359,000 prostate cancer deaths were recorded in 2018 worldwide.

IARC projects that 2.3million new cases and 740,000 deaths from prostate cancer will be recorded globally by 2040. These are estimates generated using mathematical modeling based on the growth and aging of the population.

In developing countries with 10.5 per 100,000 incidences of prostate cancer and where health care is still a challenge, cancers are predicted to be the significant causes of morbidity and mortality by 2040. Quality data on all forms of cancers are challenging to access or unavailable altogether in many African countries due to the absence of National Cancer Registries. Eighty thousand nine hundred seventy-one new prostate cancer cases were recorded in 2018, and 178,634 projected to be recorded in 2040 in Africa.

In Ghana, where prostate cancer incidence is increasing and is the 2nd leading cause of cancer deaths in men, there is no National Cancer Registry for effective data management relating to cancer morbidity and mortality. However, two independently managed cancer registries in Kumasi and Accra are managed by part-time staff (and interns) in Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital, respectively.

The Prostate Gland

The prostate gland is a muscular walnut-sized gland that encircles the urethra (a tube that carries urine and semen through the Penis) and ejaculatory duct, located inferior to the urinary bladder, at the base of the Penis, and anterior to the rectum. It measures two by four by 3 cm and weighs about 30g. The prostate gland consists mostly of glandular tissues, connective tissues, and smooth muscles.