Challenges of managing nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a developing country.

Journal of the National Medical Association

PubMedID: 16749652

Fatusi O, Akinpelu O, Amusa Y. Challenges of managing nasopharyngeal carcinoma in a developing country. J Natl Med Assoc. 2006;98(5):758-64.
The maxillofacial unit is an uncommon entry point for cases of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (NPC). This report documents involvement of the maxillofacial unit in the management of NPC in Obafemi Awolowo University Teaching Hospitals Complex, Ile-lfe, Nigeria, with the aim of highlighting the challenges associated with recognition and management of the disease. Almost all cases (86.7%) were recorded in the low socioeconomic group, and males constituted 66.7%. The median age of our patients was 38 years, with an earlier cluster in females. Most of our patients (86.7%) presented with late stages of the disease. The challenges posed to surgeons in the management of NPC in the tropics include limited availability of diagnostic and treatment facilities. The inability of patients to afford the cost of relevant healthcare services due to high poverty level and absence of effective social support system also limits their access and utilization of available clinical facilities. These issues need to be addressed to facilitate early diagnosis and improved management that would ensure better prognosis for Nigerian patients with NPC. Education targeted at community members as well as healthcare service providers, including maxillofacial surgeons, would be important to enhance the possibility of detecting the cases at an earlier stage.