There is a reason why men in Nigeria try to avoid talking about prostate cancer, and the title of this article says it all. The test for prostate cancer consists of a doctor putting on a glove and using lubricant to feel the surface of the prostate through the man’s rectum. It is an uncomfortable test, but it is becoming increasingly important that Nigerian men get this test done to stem the growing tide of deaths due to prostate cancer.
According to the Prostate Cancer Africa website, it is estimated that 6,236 new cases of prostate cancer are diagnosed every year in Nigeria. It is also estimated that 5,098 Nigerian men die every year from prostate cancer. However, a majority of these cases are being diagnosed very late in the development of the disease. If prostate cancer is caught early, it can be successfully treated.
The Risks Are High
Prostate cancer is a condition that generally occurs in males over the age of 50, but many doctors recommend starting screening tests when a male reaches 40 years of age. Prostate cancer tends to occur more frequently in families that have a genetic history of the disease and, according to TheProstateCentre.com, prostate cancer is more prevalent in African cultures. As a man ages, his chances of getting prostate cancer increase. That is why annual testing is so important in prevention of this disease.
Different Forms Of Prostate Disease
While prostate cancer is the most terrifying form of prostate disease, there are other conditions that can affect the prostate. As men get older, the instances of these conditions tend to rise sharply and can affect a man’s quality of life. By getting tested for prostate disease, it is possible to control these conditions and avoid further problems.
This is a relatively common prostate condition that is caused by a bacterial infection that swells the size of the prostate. The symptoms can range from a fever to a full urinary tract infection. While this condition can be treated effectively with antibiotics, it can also turn fatal if left untreated and allowed to develop complications.
Benign Prostatic Hypertrophy
The more common term for this condition is an enlarged prostate, and this can affect any man aged 50 and up. The primary symptoms of this condition include difficulty urinating, a weak urine stream and the inability to feel as though your bladder is empty. When the prostate enlarges, it starts to put pressure on your bladder and your urethra, which is the tube that moves urine from the bladder to the penis. This condition can be solved with medication, but extreme cases may require surgery.
Your doctor must perform certain tests to be able to distinguish between an enlarged prostate and the possible presence of prostate cancer. There are three primary tests your doctor uses to determine what type of prostate condition you are experiencing.
Digital Rectal Examination (DRE)
The presence of the word “digital” in this test name is misleading because a DRE test is the standard finger examination. This is the quick and critical test your doctor gives that can indicate if there are nodules on your prostate, or if your prostate is enlarged.
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA)
If your doctor suspects that there are nodes on your prostate, then a PSA test may be in your future. This is a blood test that looks for an overabundance of the PSA protein in your system. While a high PSA result could indicate cancer, it could also mean that the prostate is simply enlarged.
An ultrasound probe is inserted into the rectum to get a more direct look at a swelled or possibly infected prostate. This test is often done in conjunction with a biopsy to get the tissue needed to test for cancer.
When the men of Nigeria age 40 and older will not get a prostate exam, then it is up to the wives to step up and make the demand that their husbands get tested. The high instance of fatal prostate cancer in Nigerian men is something that can be controlled with regular testing. The test may be uncomfortable, but it could mean the difference between life and death.