Colorectal Cancer: Late Presentation and Outcome of Treatment
AbstractBackground: Colorectal cancer remains a major health problem especially in developed countries where it ranks as the third most common cause of cancer in both men and women. Though incidence of colorectal cancer is low in Nigeria and other developing countries, outcome of treatment remains poor due largely to late presentation, ignorance, poverty and superstition. Aim: This study evaluates the stage of presentation and treatment outcome of colorectal cancer at the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria. Method: Records of patients admitted into the hospital with confirmed colorectal cancer between January, 2000 to December, 2008 were retrieved. Data on age, sex, duration of illness, clinical features, treatment given and outcome of treatment were collected and analyzed. Results: Out of 32 patients, 10(31.3%) were males and 22(68.7%) were females, with a male to female ratio of 1:2.1.The patients' ages ranged from 24-90 years with a mean of 55.8 years. Eighteen (56.3%) patients presented more than 6 months after onset of symptoms. Twenty-one (65.6%) patients presented with features of intestinal obstruction; 17(53.1%) with rectal bleeding; 13(40.6%) with abdominal pain and 12(37.5%) with significant weight loss. Twelve (37.5%) patients died before completion of treatment regimen. Thirteen (40.6%) patients were lost to follow-up, while 5 (15.6%) patients were discharged against medical advice. Only 2 (6.3%) patients completed their treatment regimen. Conclusion: The incidence of colorectal cancer is still low in our environment but treatment outcome remains poor due to late presentation. Public enlightenment with emphasis on early presentation should be encouraged.
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