GAF, Janssen launches project to enhance prostate cancer awareness and early detection


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 will 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 medical officers at a 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, 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 for patients, and prostate cancer diagnosis and management.

For his part, 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 annually survive in Ghana.

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 prostate cancer cases are diagnosed at the late stages, and these late presentations have 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 tests 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 servicemen to pay keen interest to medical check-ups and also ensure 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 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 a cure,” he explained.

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