The Ghana Armed Forces (GAF), in partnership with Janssen, a Johnson and Johnson Pharmaceutical subsidiary, launched a project to enhance prostate cancer awareness and promote early detection among servicemen aged 40 years and above.
According to the Country Manager of Janssen, Henry Osei -Agyekum, prostate cancer continues to claim lives in the developing world due to poor awareness among men, and other health system mediated reasons; hence increased information on prostate cancer would aid in reducing the mortality of men in the GAF.
“The aim of this partnership is to support with prostate cancer awareness and screening and enhance early identification and treatment, thus reducing the mortality of those serving in the Ghana Armed Forces”, he explained.
Mr. Osei-Agyekum, added that, the project will also build the capacity of health promotion officers and the medical officers at selected 24 military installations across the country to effectively drive awareness, screening, and patient navigation.
In addition to the creation of awareness through provision of information, education and communication materials, the Chief of the Defence Staff, Vice Admiral Seth Amoama, noted that the project christened “prostate cancer early detection” is also expected to improve patient survival, quality of life of patients and prostate cancer diagnosis and management.
For his part, the Director-General of the Ghana Armed Forces Medical Service, Brigadier-General Raymond K. Ewusi, in his welcome address, noted that prostate cancer is the leading cause of male cancer death in the country, adding that, only 25 percent of persons diagnosed with prostate cancer survive in Ghana annually.
While Brigadier-General Ewusi emphasised that the disease is curable, he also outlined the possible barriers that influence late diagnosis and management of prostate cancer disease.
“Most of prostate cancer diseases are diagnosed at the late stages and these late presentation has been found to be informed by a multitude of barriers, and these barriers are; lack of disease awareness among the susceptible population, financial accessibility, geographic accessibility and lack of health care practitioner capacity to manage the condition in affected individuals”.
He added that the collaboration is expected to overcome financial access barriers by providing screening test at no cost to susceptible personnel and the provision of accessible pricing on prostate cancer medication from Janssen.
A Ghanaian actor, director, satirist, talk show host, and author, Kwaku Sintim-Misa, popularly known as KSM, sharing his story on how he survived prostate cancer, urged the service men to pay keen interest on medical check-ups and also ensure that they are often healthy and not only fit.
“The people in the military are all fit but being healthy means that you have done your check-up and know that everything is right. I knew I was a very fit person until I did my check –up and realised that I had prostate cancer. So many of us can be walking around as very fit people, but in effect, we are not that healthy because we haven’t done any proper test. Medical check-ups and early detection can lead to good treatment and cure”, he explained.