ACCRA, Ghana, September 6, 2022/ — Most prostate cancers are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease, which limits treatment options and has a major impact on the life expectancy of patients. To mark Prostate Cancer Awareness Month this September, Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF) and Global Pharmaceutical Company AstraZeneca (www.AstraZeneca.com) launched the Project Icon initiative, in collaboration with the Ministry of Health. The initiative will raise awareness of early warning signs, and support screening efforts.
Black men worldwide are disproportionately impacted by prostate cancer, with recent data showing that one in four black men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, compared to just one in eight men of other ethnicities[i]. For Nigerian men, prostate cancer is both the most common and most deadly cancer[ii]. These facts highlight the importance and urgency of ensuring that those at risk or those who are experiencing symptoms have timely access to healthcare services. This lies at the heart of the new initiative which sets out to drive the general public’s awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer and the importance of early screening. To address the gaps in care that prevent men of all backgrounds from being diagnosed earlier, Project Icon will conduct 1200 free Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests for men over the age of 40 living in Kebbi State and Abuja communities. Those working in the health care community will be equipped with knowledge and tools to provide psychosocial support and help navigate positive patients along the cancer care pathway.
Her Excellency the First Lady of Kebbi State, Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu, said: “Through this important collaborative initiative of AstraZeneca and Medicaid Cancer Foundation we will propel significant transformation to prostate cancer care, supporting the Kebbi State Strategic Cancer Control Plan 2019 – 2023, in securing access to screening, diagnosis and enhanced referral systems.”
Dr. Zainab Bagudu, goes on to explain: “Any male can get prostate cancer. It is essential that anyone with persistent symptoms consults their healthcare practitioner and go for screening as soon as possible. By ignoring unexplained symptoms and not getting screened in time, men increase the risk of potential late-stage diagnosis. If you are over 40, don’t wait, contact your doctor, and take the test.”
Arpit Bansal, AstraZeneca Country Director for Sub Saharan Africa, said: “There is no doubt that urgent progress in cancer is sorely needed. Prostate cancer remains the most common form of cancer in men worldwide, despite an increase in the number of available therapies. At AstraZeneca we are looking at ways to keep driving forward progress in cancer care and are dedicated to helping improve the outcomes of men affected by prostate cancer. Now, more than ever, we must advocate for earlier detection and diagnosis. Project Icon is part of this commitment. With awareness, early detection and prompt action and care, we can rewrite the story of prostate cancer in Nigeria.”