By Desmond Ejibas
Forty per cent of men aged about 40 years and above are living with prostate cancer and many are unaware of their status, an expert has said.
Dr Ovunda Omudu, Head, Department of Surgery at the Braithwaite Memorial Specialist Hospital, disclosed this on Thursday while delivering a lecture on cancer to officers and ratings of the Nigeria Navy Ship Pathfinder in Port Harcourt.
Omudu, a trained Urologist, said the disease had killed many due to several factors including poor awareness, knowledge, ignorance and manpower.
According to him, treatment for the disease is equally very expensive as it cost between N90,000 to N110,000 per one injection administered to a patient every three months.
“Prostate cancer is one of the leading killer diseases in men in Nigeria and the second cause of cancer deaths in men worldwide.
“Here in Nigeria, we do not have a national budget designated for prostate cancer as obtainable in some western nations which meant that treatment lies solely on the sufferer.
“Due to exchange rate, a 10.8 milligram of prostate cancer injection goes for N90,000 to N110,000 which a patient takes once every three months.
“Similarly, 3.6 milligram of the same injection which is taken every month is sold for N45,000 combined with drug which cost N27,000 per dosage.
“So, you can imagine that every month a retiree or pensioner with prostate cancer will spend roughly N120,000 to treat the disease.
“So, it is very important that we do our best to prevent the disease and stop paying salary to prostate cancer via drugs and medication,” he said.
Omudu said that surgery to remove prostate cancer abroad cost about 10,000 U.S. dollars (N4.85 million) while cost of travelling, hospital and hotel accommodation increased the figure to N7 million.
Omudu, however, said that a foundation based in the country had intervened by reducing cost for laser surgery to N600,000.
He said the disease could be prevented by eating consumables like red tomato; Green tea, sea foods, such as periwinkles and snails, and regular exercise.
“Green tea contained anti-oxidant and anti-free radicals while the sea foods have magnesium, manganese, selenium and vitamin E and D which are nutrients for prevention of the disease,” he said.
Omudu said that efforts were currently being made to reduce the number by creating more awareness and training of additional Urologist doctors to provide needed expertise.
The medical doctor advised officers and ratings to take measures to prevent the diseases, especially going by the nature of their jobs which demanded physical fitness.
Speaking, Commodore Obi Egbuchulam, the Commander of Nigeria Navy Ship (NNS), said the base organised the lecture to expose troops to dangers posed by the disease.
He said that some serving and retired naval officers and ratings were currently suffering from prostate cancer which could affect their ability to provide optimal service to the country.
“I think it is our responsibility to educate and enlighten our personnel on dangers of prostate cancer, so that they can live a happy and healthy life serving and after retirement.
“Some people developed this disease due to ignorance and so, this lecture is taking place together with a free Prostate Specific Antigen screening to enable our personnel know their cancer status,” he said.
Egbuchulam assured that the exercise would be a regular and urged personnel from other units and formations to always get tested. (NAN)