WINDHOEK – Prostate cancer has emerged as the most prevalent form of cancer in Namibia, surpassing breast cancer, with an estimated 350 new cases diagnosed annually, according to Rolf Hansen, Chief Executive Officer of the Cancer Association of Namibia (CAN).
According to NAMPA, in an interview with Nampa on Thursday, Hansen detailed the latest findings from Namibia’s national cancer registry. Data from 2019 indicates that prostate cancer is now the leading cancer in the country, affecting approximately 5 percent of Namibian men. This rate is slightly higher than the 4.6 percent incidence of breast cancer in women, which was previously the most common cancer, followed by cervical cancer.
Hansen explained that the registry’s analysis spans a three-year period and also looks at a decade-long trajectory. This analysis revealed that prostate cancer has become the most commonly diagnosed cancer in Namibia. He noted that this could change once data from 2020 to 2022 are fully analyzed, along with all pathology reports. However, he emphasized the significance of prostate cancer numbers exceeding those of breast cancer for the first time.
One contributing factor to this shift, according to Hansen, is the increase in prostate cancer screenings among Namibian men, influenced by CAN’s campaigns promoting the prostate-specific antigen (PSA) blood test. This test, preferred over the rectal examination, has encouraged more men to come forward for screening.
Hansen highlighted the stigma associated with rectal examinations in Namibia, which has historically been a barrier to men seeking screening. The introduction of the blood test for prostate cancer has made screening more accessible and less daunting for many men.
CAN is set to focus on raising awareness about prostate cancer in November. Hansen urged all men over the age of 45 to get screened, emphasizing the ease and non-invasiveness of the PSA test, which can provide results in 15 minutes. Men with a family history of prostate cancer are advised to begin screening as early as 30 years of age.
The International Prostate Cancer Foundation ranks prostate cancer as the fourth most common tumor diagnosed globally and considers it one of the most heritable cancers. The Prostate Cancer Foundation estimates that hereditary factors contribute to 57 percent of prostate cancer risk.