Cancer of the prostate is now recognised as one of the most important medical problems facing the male population, according to the European Association of Urology (EAU) in 2010.
Prostate cancer is the second most commonly occurring cancer in men and the fourth most commonly occurring cancer overall.
According to Cancer Research United Kingdom (UK), an estimated 913,000 men were diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2008 worldwide.
The Global Cancer Incidence, Mortality and Prevalence (GLOBOCAN), a cancer database, indicates that there were 1.3 million new cases across the world in 2018.
Prostate cancer is cancer that begins in tissues of the prostate gland.
Located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum, the prostate is the male sex gland responsible for the production of semen.
A man's prostate produces the seminal fluid that nourishes and transports sperm.
A common symptom of prostate cancer is difficulty with urination, but according to health experts, sometimes there are no symptoms at all.
Some types of prostate cancer are said to grow slowly, while other types are said to be aggressive and require radiation, surgery, hormone therapy, chemotherapy or other treatments.
According to the cancer experts at the Cancer Treatment Centres of America (CTCA), every case of prostate cancer is different as the disease may behave differently in patients.
It says by age 50, about half of all men experience small changes in the size and shape of the cells in the prostate, as part of the typical aging process.
Also, health experts say understanding whether those changes are signs of the disease and knowing one’s risk for developing prostate cancer are the first steps in protecting one’s health.
Fortunately, prostate cancer is said to be one of the most treatable malignancies if it is identified early.
Prostate cancer in Ghana
GLOBOCAN estimates that 16,600 cases of cancer occur annually in Ghana.
Between 1980 and 1990, the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH) recorded 349 of 479 genitourinary cancers in males.
The number represents 81.4 per cent of cancers in males.
Between 1991 and 2000, prostate cancer accounted for 635 out of 3,659 cases of cancers in males and females.
In 2006, 60 per cent of all cancers reported at the Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital were prostate cancers.
In 2005, 27 people were said to have died from the disease.
The Ghana Health Service in 2014 published that Ghana exceeded global prostate limits as the country recorded 200 cases out of every 100,000 men as against 170 worldwide.
According to health experts, incidence rate in Ghana was likely to continue to rise with improving economies and increasing westernisation.
Also, they say recent population-based data in Ghana showed that the prevalence of obesity, a potential effect of westernisation, increased from five per cent in 1998 to nine per cent in 2004-2006, and the prevalence of overweight increased from 17 per cent to 32 per cent.
Recent findings from the Genome-Wide Association Studies (GWAS), an observational study of a genome-wide set of genetic variants in different individuals, show that genetics were a more important factor in prostate cancer.
High calcium diets are said to be a risk factor just as high protein from dairy products such as red meat,while obesity is a likely risk factor for the disease.
Diets to avoid also include genetically modified organisms (GMOs), fast foods, barbecued meats, sugar, toxic foods and canned tomatoes.
Things to consider
The prostate diets include fruits and vegetables such as tomatoes but avoid canned tomatoes, phytonutrients, antioxidants, pomegranates, fibres among others.
Other healthy prostate foods include aluguntugui, berries, flaxseed, pumpkin seed, prekese, mushrooms, watermelon, pawpaw among others.
Healthy fats such as mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated, plant protein, whole natural foods, green tea and omega-3 fatty acids are also good for men’s prostate.