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Health expert advocates for cancer registry to enhance research

Head of the Department of Surgery at Korle-Bu Teaching Hospital (KBTH), Professor James Edward Mensah, has emphasized the need for the establishment of a comprehensive cancer registry, with a particular focus on prostate cancer patients.

Such a cancer registry would play a crucial role in enhancing cancer research and surveillance.

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A cancer registry serves as a centralized database and information system dedicated to collecting, storing, and managing data related to individuals affected by cancer. This registry is essential for monitoring the progress of cancer patients following their diagnosis.

Professor Mensah, who is also the President of the Ghana Association of Urological Surgeons, expressed his concerns to the Ghana News Agency (GNA) during Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

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He highlighted that the absence of a comprehensive cancer registry has hindered healthcare experts from conducting effective post-diagnosis monitoring.

While acknowledging the existence of a cancer registry at the National Radiotherapy Centre within KBTH, Professor Mensah stressed the importance of establishing a national registry that would consolidate data from all healthcare facilities, major departments, and even private hospitals that treat cancer patients.

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This unified approach is crucial because many prostate cancer patients, especially those with underlying health conditions, pass away without a clear understanding of the precise cause of death.

Prostate cancer is a significant health concern, both globally and in Ghana. It ranks as the second most commonly diagnosed cancer worldwide and is the fifth leading cause of cancer-related deaths among men in 2020.

In Ghana, prostate cancer stands as the second leading cause of cancer-related deaths in men and is the most prevalent male cancer seen at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital.

The symptoms of prostate cancer can vary, with the disease often remaining asymptomatic in its early stages. However, as it advances, individuals may experience difficulties with urination, a weakened urine stream, blood in urine or semen, bone pain, unexplained weight loss, and erectile dysfunction.

The disease becomes lethal when it spreads to other parts of the body.

In addition to prostate cancer, the proposed cancer registry would track other types of cancer, including breast cancer, cervical cancer, and various childhood cancers.

Professor Mensah also called for increased awareness to encourage men at higher risk of developing prostate cancer, such as African men and those with a family history of the disease, to undergo PSA blood tests and biopsies for early detection and proper management. He stressed that there are different subtypes of prostate cancer, and not all patients diagnosed with it will succumb to the disease.

Lastly, Professor Mensah urged the government, individuals, organizations, and philanthropists to provide support to the Urological Department at KBTH to ensure effective services for cancer patients.

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