Health

Late presentation, inadequate facilities hinder ovarian cancer management- Expert

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A Gynaecologist and Fertility Specialist, Dr Ayodele Ademola, on Wednesday identified late presentation and lack inadequate medical facilities as major challenges facing the management of ovarian cancer in Nigeria.

Ademola, Managing Director, Strong Tower Advanced Fertility Centre, made this known while speaking with the Nigeria News Agency in Lagos.

He said that about 80 per cent of patients with ovarian cancer presented their cases late and at an advanced stages.

“This is because, in the early stages of the disease, women either have no symptom or have minimal non-specific symptoms such as indigestion, heartburn, feeling bloated and tiredness.

“Usually, the sufferer would have been in and out of the hospital for treatment of other health conditions.

“The non-specific symptoms in the early stages of the disease coupled with ineffective early detection tests make women present the ailment at advanced stages,” he said.

The doctor said lack of expertise manpower also posed a challenge, adding that there were no enough gynaecology oncologists who were knowledgeable in the management of ovarian cancer.

According to him, surgical treatment of ovarian cancer is best performed by gynaecology oncologists.

“But unfortunately, some are being performed by unskilled doctors who give the patients suboptimal and insufficient treatment,’’ the expert said.

He, however, said that the inability of most patients to afford the financial requirements for the treatment also affect the management of ovarian cancer.

According to him, with the present economic challenges, most Nigerians cannot afford to go to the specialised centres where they will be properly treated.

“The fear of meeting the financial obligations accounts for the late presentation.

“There are other peculiar challenges in the diagnosis and management of ovarian cancer, including poverty and cultural beliefs of women.

“Also, the cost of anti-cancer drugs being used in its management is very high and most patients cannot afford it, especially with the follow-up treatment,” he said.

The expert said that the actual cause of ovarian cancer was not yet known, but the risk factors associated with it include: genetics, obesity, age, diet, among others.

He said lack of an effective screening test for ovarian cancer had also made it difficult to map out a good preventive strategy, adding that there were ways of reducing the risk of ovarian cancer.

“A low fat diet has been shown to reduce the risk of ovarian cancer; obese women seem to have a higher risk of ovarian cancer and so, preventing obesity can help,’’ the expert advised.

Ademola recommended that proper funding of the nation’s health institutions and training of medical personnel in Nigeria would contribute immensely toward improving the quality of life and survival rates of women with ovarian cancer.
LUC/ZGA/GOK
Edited by Zainab Garba/Olagoke Olatoye

https://nnn.ng/late-presentation-inadequate-facilities-hinder-ovarian-cancer-management-expert/

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