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Doctors alert to rising cases of colorectal cancer

By Stanley Akpononu
28 July 2016   |   3:40 am
Doctors under the aegis of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN) have raised alarm over the rising cases of colorectal cancer in Nigeria. They said that more Nigerians are coming down with the disease...
L-R: Dr. Charles Onyekwere, Prof. Musa Borodo, Dr. Funmi Lesi and Dr. Mobolaji Oludara

L-R: Dr. Charles Onyekwere, Prof. Musa Borodo, Dr. Funmi Lesi and Dr. Mobolaji Oludara

Recommend periodic screening since disease does not usually have symptoms

Doctors under the aegis of the Society for Gastroenterology and Hepatology in Nigeria (SOGHIN) have raised alarm over the rising cases of colorectal cancer in Nigeria. They said that more Nigerians are coming down with the disease and this has to do with lack of periodic screening to detect the diseases early since colon cancer usually do not have symptoms.

President of SOGHIN, Prof. Musa Borodo, at the opening day of SOGHIN 2016 Conference which started last week with a workshop on modern technology and surgical skills at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH), said diseases such as colorectal cancer, liver cancer, Helicobacter pylori and other infections that occur in the gastrointestinal (GI) tract are usually not easy to detect when looking out for signs and symptoms.

“And even when the symptoms are obvious it is often to late to treat. That is the situation in our hospitals at the moment and doctors treating GI diseases are disturbed,” he said.

The SOGHIN President said the goal of the conference this year is to explore better ways of treating diseases of the gastrointestinal (GI) tract leveraging on technology.

Borodo added: “What we simply do in such cases is offer palliative care and hope that the patient can have a little more time, but that is not what we hope for, our desire is to treat and keep patients alive.

“But most gastroenterologists –physicians who specialises in treating diseases of the stomach can only save the lives of Nigerians who come to the hospitals before it is too late.“We want people to imbibe the habit of periodic screening especially for colon cancer which I must say is becoming a huge burden in Nigeria especially among people above 40.”

Borodo further explained: “Most Nigerians are usually rushed to the hospital. If you are above 40 and never gone for examination of your colon since birth, you may just be in the category and the SOGHIN president is concerned that treatment for diseases with no early signs and symptoms such colon cancer and liver cancer can only be detected and treated well if patience present early. And patients would present early if health promotion and patients education becomes prioritised in the country.

“Specifically you are aware that on viral hepatitis we have invited people from the government, like His Excellency, the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon (Rtd.) who is the ambassador on viral hepatitis and we are hoping that we can get the support we need to ensure that the management of such diseases are backed up by policies that can support standard of care and the subsidised treatment just in like it was done in HIV.”

Chairman, Local Organising Committee (LOC), of the 2016 SOGHIN Conference, Dr. MobolajiI Oludara, “What we do hope to see after this conference is an increase in the level of awareness about diseases such as colon cancer using patient education as a key tool since the doctors and nurses who look after them would have improved their skills in early detection and treatment.”

According to Oludara, this year’s conference is a unique because its incorporates an advance surgical training at Lagos State University Teaching Hospital (LASUTH) while one is ongoing at LUTH.

“It is also special because for the first time we are looking at issues that we really want to solve as a country. We have brought facilitators to take sessions. So, as far as liver detection and liver transplantation are concerned, we have to start from somewhere. We believe at the end of this conference, we must find a way forward.”