Not all is gloom and doom when confronting cancer in Africa. Success stories are to be found across the continent, and I encountered one such case in Ghana. Torgbi Tsagbi, an engineer from Kumasi, sat with me to discuss his battle with cancer in August. Several months before we met, he encountered pain and difficulty urinating, and quickly became worried about his health.
“I’ve known others who have had similar problems but ignored the warning signs,” Tsagbi explained. “Months later, I’d lose them – they’d be gone.”
Tsagbi quickly became worried about his health, sought medical attention, and was diagnosed with prostate cancer. It is one of the leading types of cancer across Africa and the developing world, and prognosis is good if detected early enough.
“The treatment is expensive, and I have to make a long drive from Kumasi in the north to Accra in the south for radiotherapy, but my chances are quite good,” Tsagbi explained.
Tsagbi’s experience brought home the importance of early detection, of seeking medical attention when early warning signs appear. Sadly, for many Africans afflicted with cancer, warning signs go unnoticed, are often mistaken for another malady, or are ignored. Yet with prostate cancer, if detected early enough, prognosis is good for recovery. Tsagbi is very optimistic that he will recover fully, and his success reminds us that cancer need not be a death sentence across the developing world.