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THE INFLUENCE OF PROSTATE CANCER AWARENESS CAMPAIGNS ON THE KNOWLEDGE, ATTITUDE AND PRACTICES OF MEN IN SOUTH-EASTERN NIGERIA

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background of the Study

Cancer is the growth disorder of cells in the body. Clinically, it can be defined as a large number (up to a hundred) of complex diseases that behave differently depending on the cell types from which they originate (William, Klug et.al, 2009, p.513). It is a genetic disease which is caused by mutation that has dominated other cells. In 2000, there were 1,220,100 reported cases of new cancers and 552,200 cancer deaths, indicating that roughly half of the people who develop cancer die from it (William, Klug, et.al, 2009, p.513). Statistics emanating from different health organisations and agencies around the world indicate that there are over 16 million new cases of cancer globally. This figure, according to World Health Organization (WHO) 2011report, is likely to double in 2020 (Chustecka, 2011, p.1). The rapid spread of this disease to a large extent is as a result of unawareness of its early symptoms which can be treated at its early stage when detected. Cells proliferation and metastasis nature of cancer has made it worst, this has resulted to its fast spread (cancer) in human body. Cell proliferation has to do with the division of cells into multiple units which can be said to be characterized by abnormal cell growth. On the other hand, metastasis is a process that allows these cells to spread to other parts of the body. The painful aspect of this disease is the ability to combine both cell proliferation and metastatic, this makes it more dangerous. (Peter & George, 2002, p. 367).

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), in 2008 gave an estimate of over 681,000 and 512,400 new cases of cancer. These figures have increased to 1.4 million cases and 714 thousand deaths in 2010 (IARC Report 2010, p.3). The three most deadly human cancers are cancer of the lung, cancer of the colon and breast cancer. However, lung cancer is largely preventable, most of these cases result from smoking cigarettes (American Cancer Society, 2000, p. 13).

There are several causes of cancer, notable among them is the genetic factor. John Hill, an English physician in 1761 discovered that some tumors which can develop to cancer are caused by chemicals. Percival Pott, also made a similar discovery, he discovered that heavy snuff users are exposed to cancer. The 1966 Nobel Prize winner in medicine, Peyton, Rous discovered another cause of cancer. He found out that virus can cause cancer in human (Peter & George, 2002, p. 368).

Peter and George, (2002, p. 369), stated that, one out of every three children born will contract cancer at some time during their lives. While one-fourth of the male children and one-third of the female children will someday die of cancer. One begins to wonder what will be the fate of developing nations since the level of knowledge and awareness of this disease is relatively poor in these nations.

The most deadly disease in men is prostate cancer. Prostate cancer is a type of cancer which only affects men. It is the second leading cause of death in men. (World Cancer Report 2011, p.4). It occurs when tumor begins to grow in the prostate gland of male reproductive system. The word “prostate” means “one standing in front”. The prostate is so called because of its position, which is directly at the base of the bladder. It is estimated that 241,740 new cases of prostate cancer were diagnosed in 2012 in America and out of this number, 28,170 patients will die from this disease (America Cancer Society, 2012, p. 23).

This is to show the low level of awareness and attention given to this disease that is gradually sending most men to the grave. Developing nations are seriously at disadvantage when it comes to  knowledge and awareness of prostate cancer. Most of the citizens in developing nations have not heard of it talk more of knowing how to detect or treat it at the early stage. However, public campaigns on this have been paramount to governments that have the interest of their citizens at heart.

The questions most people seem to ask are what are the causes of prostate cancer?  How can it be detected and how can it be treated? However, nobody is really sure  what the specific causes are. Scientists have been able to come up with possible ideas which are likely to cause it, these include, genetics, age, lifestyle, race, and medications.

Studies over the years indicate that heredity is definitely a cause of prostate cancer. For instance, a man has the tendency of developing prostate cancer if his biological father or brother has it. Age is also one of the causes. The older a man is, the higher is his risk of having it. However, it is rare among men below the age of 45, but very common among men that are 50 and above. Studies have also shown that some diets such as vegetables can reduce a person’s chance of developing prostate cancer. Other studies have indicated that lack of some essential vitamins in the body such as vitamin D, a meal rich with red meat may also raise a person’s chances of developing prostate cancer. Research studies have equally shown that there might be a link between the daily use of anti-inflammatory medicines and prostate cancer. Men who have had gonorrhea have a higher chance of developing prostate cancer. Aside these, there are other causes of prostate cancer in men (Peter & George, 2002, p. 368).

There are several symptoms of prostate cancer, but at the early stages of prostate cancer, there are usually no symptoms. However, routine medical check-up and blood test can help to show if one has it or not. When symptoms do exist, they are usually one or more of the following:

  • Painful ejaculation
  • The patient urinates more often
  • Atimes there may be some traces of blood in the urine
  • Most often, he may find it hard to start urinating
  • Weak erection in most cases.

Treating prostate cancer to a large extent depends on the growth stage of the tumor, age and health condition of the patient are also determinants. However, several types of treatment exist; they include radiation, surgery, hormone therapy or a combination of any of the above mentioned ways (Okomanyi, 2012, p. 34). A good number of people might therefore underestimate or over estimate their probability of getting this based on their level of awareness.

The knowledge and attitude of the people of south-eastern Nigeria on the subject of discuss forms the fulcrum of this study. The awareness level however, has an information angle, according to a Chinese proverb: “the road to health is the road to knowledge and ignoring knowledge is sickness”. Secondly, there is the psychological angle where too much of awareness causes guilt, fear, anxiety, depression and negative attitudes of self isolation in patients.

1.2 Statement of the Problem 

Cancer cells are immortal, until they are uprooted by surgery or the body in which the cell resides dies before one can be said to be free from this disease. Due to the nature of this disease in man, several agencies and organizations such as United Bank for Africa have organized seminars and awareness campaigns on prostate cancer. On Saturday, June 18th 2011, UBA Foundation flagged off an awareness campaign against prostate cancer in Nigeria and Africa, all in a bid to fight cancer. Yet the current statistical data of mortality resulting from prostate cancer is in the increase. Prostate cancer is the most pernicious disease in man, the second highest cause of death in man (World Cancer Reports 2011, p.4)

Inspite of the Campaigns on cancer generally, death continues to be on the increase. In developing nations like Nigeria, death rate as a result of prostate cancer is very high and mostly among men that are 50 years and above. However, this high death rate can be linked to lack of public awareness, knowledge, late detection and diagnosis of the disease and the attitude of men about the disease. All these lead to the premise that prostate cancer is yet to be well understood by men. However, some people are of the view that any awareness campaign aimed at combating this deadly disease must have all it takes to increase knowledge, create positive attitude and enhance practice of screening methods among the audience. Except there is a significant change in the attitude of those exposed to prostate cancer campaigns, the entire exercise will amount to vanity.

 Based on this, this research therefore seeks to find out the extent to which men in south-eastern Nigeria are exposed to prostate cancer campaigns, their attitude and practice towards campaign messages on prevention, early detection and treatment of prostate cancer.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The general objective of this study is to find out the knowledge, attitude and practice among men in south-eastern Nigeria towards prostate cancer detection, prevention and treatment. Specifically, the research aimed at ascertaining the followings:

  1. To find out the awareness level of men in South-Eastern Nigeria about prostate cancer.
  2. To ascertain the knowledge level of men in South-Eastern Nigeria on prostate cancer.
  3. To identify the sources of information about prostate cancer.
  4. To ascertain the attitude of men in South-Eastern Nigeria towards prostate cancer.
  5. To find out if the campaign on prostate cancer have influenced the behaviour of men in the South-Eastern part of the country.

1.4     Research Questions

The following research questions were carefully derived from the above objectives of the study.

  1. What is the level of awareness among men in south-eastern Nigeria about prostate cancer?
  2. What is the level of knowledge of men in the south eastern Nigeria on the issue of prostate cancer?
  3. What are the sources of information known to men in South-Eastern Nigeria on prostate cancer?
  4. What is the attitude of men in South-Eastern Nigeria on prostate cancer?
  5. What influence has the campaigns on prostate cancer on the behaviour of men in South-Eastern Nigeria?

1.5     Significance of the Study

It is obvious that this study will be significant to many set of people such as health organizations, government agencies, researchers, academicians, media practitioners, foreign agencies, and the society at large.

Academically, the study will add to the pool of knowledge on issues that have to do with cancer and prostate cancer in particular. The outcome of this study will also serve as a reference material to students, lecturers and researchers. It can also propel further research on the topic.

Professionally, this study will be of tremendous benefit to those in the health sector, as this will confirm to them the level of awareness and knowledge of the men in south-eastern Nigeria concerning prostate cancer. It will also be of help to media professionals as this will enable them know the sources of information made available to the men in south-eastern Nigeria in regards to prostate cancer campaigns.

Theoretically, this study will offer an intellectual platform for testing claims made earlier by some scholars in regards to human attitudes, believes and behaviours. Findings can also give birth to new theories in the field of communication in respect to attitudinal behaviour of humans.

1.6 Scope of the study

The scope of this study is the south eastern states of Nigeria. This part of the country is made up of five states namely, Enugu State, Imo State, Abia State, Ebonyi State, and Anambra State. This will form the geographical scope of this study.

1.7 Operational Definition of Terms

Prostate Cancer: A disease condition that affects the prostate glance in men.

Campaigns: These are media programmes that are aimed at fighting against prostate cancer by informing men in south-eastern states the dangers and how it can be prevented, detected or treated.

Influence: This refers to how the campaigns change the attitudes, knowledge and behaviour of the men in South-Eastern Nigeria.

Knowledge: The level of information by men in the south-eastern states on prostate cancer campaigns.

Practices: All conscious efforts by the men in south-eastern Nigeria towards combating prostate cancer by early detection, prevention and treatment.

 Attitudes: The disposition of men in South- Eastern Nigeria on the early detection, prevention and treatment of prostate cancer.

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