NIGERIA – Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF) and pharma giant AstraZeneca, in collaboration with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health, have launched the Project Icon initiative geared towards creating awareness on prostate cancer.

Medicaid said that the Project Icon will conduct 1200 free Prostate Specific Antigen (PSA) tests for men over the age of 40 living in Kebbi State and Abuja communities to address the gaps in care that prevent men of all backgrounds from being diagnosed earlier.

The Project Icon initiative in Nigeria aims to drive the general public’s awareness of the symptoms of prostate cancer and the importance of early screening since prostate cancer has a survival rate of 98% when caught in early stages.

The prostate cancer awareness campaign will also ensure that those working in the health care community are equipped with knowledge and tools to provide psychosocial support and help navigate positive patients along the cancer care pathway.

Black men worldwide are disproportionately impacted by prostate cancer, with recent data showing that one in four black men will be diagnosed with the disease in their lifetime, compared to just one in eight men of other ethnicities. For Nigerian men, prostate cancer is both the most common and most deadly cancer.

Medicaid Cancer Foundation (MCF)


Founded in 2009, Medicaid’s goal is to reduce cancer mortality rate by increasing cancer awareness and its preventive measures, facilitate treatment and support for cancer patients, and provide support to guide people through the cancer experience.

Medicaid highlights that most prostate cancers are diagnosed at a late stage of the disease which limits treatment options and has a major impact on the life expectancy of patients, noting that the Project Icon initiative will raise awareness of early warning signs, and support screening efforts.

Medicaid Cancer Foundation and AstraZeneca have partnered with Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Health to launch the Project Icon initiative that will advocate for early cancer screening, diagnosis and appropriate medical interventions in commemoration of this year’s Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

Medicaid revealed that prostate cancer is both the most common and most deadly cancer for Nigerian men while highlighting the importance and urgency of ensuring that those at risk or those who are experiencing symptoms have timely access to healthcare services.

Her Excellency the First Lady of Kebbi State Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu said that through the important collaborative initiative of AstraZeneca and Medicaid Cancer Foundation, the Nigerian state will propel significant transformation to prostate cancer care.

Dr. Zainab Shinkafi Bagudu further said that the collaborative initiative of AstraZeneca and Medicaid Cancer Foundation will support implementation of the Kebbi State Strategic Cancer Control Plan 2019 – 2023 particularly in securing access to screening, diagnosis and enhanced referral systems.

It is essential that anyone with persistent symptoms consults their healthcare practitioner and go for screening as soon as possible. By ignoring unexplained symptoms and not getting screened in time, men increase the risk of potential late-stage diagnosis,” she added.


Meanwhile, AstraZeneca Country Director for Sub Saharan Africa Arpit Bansal reaffirmed that the AstraZeneca teams are looking at ways to keep driving forward progress in cancer care and are dedicated to helping improve the outcomes of men affected by prostate cancer.

Arpit Bansal emphasized that urgent progress in cancer is sorely needed while noting that prostate cancer remains the most common form of cancer in men worldwide despite an increase in the number of available therapies.

Now, more than ever, we must advocate for earlier detection and diagnosis. Project Icon is part of this commitment. With awareness, early detection and prompt action and care, we can rewrite the story of prostate cancer in Nigeria,” he said.

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