By Treezer Michelle Atieno
According to the World Health Organization, 4 Kenyan men succumb to prostate cancer every day. Prostate cancer is a common type of cancer in men, but it is highly treatable in the early stages with the non-progressive type not requiring treatment at all.
Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer, and the fifth cause of death among men globally. In Sub-Saharan Africa, cancer is the leading cause of death among men.
In Kenya, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men. It contributes remarkably to the public health burden in the country. Experts anticipate an increase in these cases because of urbanization and growth in population.
A research published on Researchgate shows that the rise of mortality related to prostate cancer is mainly attributed to late diagnosis. The disease has no symptoms in the early stages. Therefore, it is majorly diagnosed after progression to an advanced stage when treatment least works.
It further states that the major challenge experienced in developing countries is the late presentation of prostate cancer patients in health facilities. In Kenya, 80% of these patients are diagnosed with advanced disease and more aggressive tumors. This results in poor clinical outcomes as very little can be done to enhance the survival of the patients.
Globally, prostate cancer screening remains a much-debated issue with records of low uptake. Nevertheless, screening remains the key strategy for the reduction of prostate cancer mortality through early detection among men at risk.
However, despite high mortality occurring in developing countries like Kenya due to this type of cancer, the screening rates are still very low. The research blames this on various barriers including low knowledge and awareness level and negative beliefs.
Early detection was a key pillar to the achievement of the goal of the cancer control strategy 2017–2022 in Kenya. Unfortunately, the rate of uptake of screening remains very low among Kenyan men.
According to the Kenya Demographic Health Survey, the screening rate for prostate cancer is 3%, 4.3% and 2.6% among men aged 15–49 years, 40–44 years and 45–49 years, respectively. Men residing in rural areas are reported to have low levels of prostate cancer awareness and screening in comparison with those residing in the urban regions.
Prostate cancer awareness and screening among Kenyan men is a critical step toward enhancing early detection. Men should be made to understand the high-risk ages of prostate cancer, availability of screening services in health facilities and the dangers of late diagnosis.