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Introduction: In Ethiopia, hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) is the most common cancer with 100% fatality rate. HCC cases in low income countries die within few months following diagnosis. There is lack of information on the burden, risk factors, diagnosis modalities, surveillance strategies and treatment approaches to HCC in Ethiopia.
Objective: To analyze the existing evidence related to burden, risk factors, diagnosis modalities, surveillance strategies, and treatment and prevention strategies of HCC in Ethiopia.
Methods: All studies done on HCC in Ethiopian irrespective of year of publication and study types were included. Literatures were retrieved from electronic database of PubMedand Cochrane library during September/2016 to January 2/2017. Key words and mesh terms such as ‘hepatocellular carcinoma’, ‘hcc’, ‘hepatoma’, ‘malignant hepatoma’, ‘hepatocarcinoma’ were used to search for documents. Besides, we searched for articles, guidelines and reviews from world health organizations, lancet and Google scholar sites. Each of the retrieved studies was assessed by two authors for inclusion based on the eligibility criteria, and for quality using the critical appraisal checklist. Qualitative data were synthesized for analyzing the theories of studies. Medley reference manager was used to manage citations.
Results: A total of 1448 literatures were retrieved. Eight studies fulfill the eligibility criteria, however, only three were full-fledged articles. HCC is clinically characterized by exhaustion, loss of appetite, rapid loss of weight, epigastric pain, right upper abdominal quadrant pain with a rapidly growing mass, jaundice, and ascites with or without hepatomegaly and splenomegaly. Data on HCC proportion among liver disease patients lies between 16.1%-19.2%. Cirrhosis followed by hepatotoxic indigenous drugs and viral hepatitis were found to be as major risk factor for HCC. In Ethiopia, there is no surveillance activity and no standard staging systems. Furthermore, there was no policy frame -work for management of HCC.
Conclusion: As compared to other countries, Ethiopia is far behind in addressing HCC. There is no national policy framework and guideline for the management of HCC. Moreover, HCC is a neglected cancer that is considered as a death penalty by the community. Health professionals working in health facilities and health offices should share the data they have to the scientific community and policy makers, for further searching solutions and informed decision, respectively. An intensified public health strategy on health education and early case detection is of critical importance. In addition concerted effort should be made to develop HCC prevention and treatment modality.
Key words: Hepatocellular Carcinoma, Ethiopia