African Journal of Health Sciences

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Management challenges of pancreatic cancer in a resource scarce setting

OI Alatise, OO Lawal, OO Tope


Background: Of all forms of gastrointestinal malignancy, adenocarcinoma of the pancreas is associated with the worst survival. Management of pancreatic cancer is associated with some challenges. This study is aimed at determining the hospital incidence, sociodemographic characteristics, managements and management’s outcome of carcinoma of pancreas at our hospital. We also discuss the management challenges encountered with these patients.
Patients and Methods: We review 96 pancreatic cancer patients seen at Awolowo University Teaching Hospital Complex, Ile –Ife, Nigeria, from July 1989 to July 2007.
Results: There were ninety six patients diagnosed with cancer of the pancreas but only 80 patients had histological proof of pancreatic cancer. This account for 2.1% of all malignancies seen and 238/100000 total admissions during the study period. The median age is 55.0. There were 62 (64.6%) male and 34 (35.4%) female with male to female ratio been 2:1. Duration of symptoms in the patients ranges from 4 weeks to 109 weeks. Only three (3.1%) patients has tumor located in a particular anatomical sub site: two head of pancreas and one tail of the pancreas. Other patients had extensive tumor involving the head and body of the pancreas. Two patients had pancreaticoduodenectomy, one had resection of the tumor at the tail of pancreas and 45 patients had triple bypass. Patients with low serum albumin and serum sodium and elevated transaminases at presentation, had poorer prognosis than other patients.
Conclusion: We found that pancreatic cancer is not uncommon in our center with male preponderance. Most patients present with advanced condition only amenable to palliative measures. There are significant challenges in the area of diagnosis, screening, treatment and research.

Key words: Pancreatic cancer, Managements, Challenges, Outcome

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