Aetiopathology and Management Challenges of Lung Cancer in the Developing World

  • MO Thomas


Background: There are newer diagnostic and therapeutic armamentaria for primary lung cancer. Application of molecular genetics in lung cancer management is evolving rapidly. However, the traditional knowledge and practices that were applicable before the 1980s still hold sway in most developing countries.
Objective: To highlight the gap in current aetiopathology and management profile of primary lung cancers.
Design: Hospital based prospective study.
Setting: Metropolitan Lagos University Teaching Hospital which accounts for about 13% of Nigerian population.
Subjects: Two hundread and sixty seven patients referred to our centre with lung malignancy as a differential diagnosis.
Results: The research lasted 99 months beginning October 1999 during which 267 patients were enlisted. There were 148 males (55.4%) and 119 females (44.5%). Stage IV patients were 183 (68.5%) while only three patients were found at stage I. Histology showed squamous cell carcinoma in 27.7% of cases while adenocarcinoma constituted 64.0%. Curative surgery was performed for 13.1% while non curative surgery was performed for 16.5%. Correlation between smoking and malignancy was stronger among the male than the female patients.
Conclusion: There is increasing incidence of primary lung cancers among non-smoking females. Despite the availability of modern diagnostic and therapeutic tools, the developing world is lagging behind in their acquisition and application.

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eISSN: 0012-835X