Orthopaedic surgeons decry high rate of musculoskeletal tumour among Nigerians

Supreme Desk
8 Dec 2023 8:10 AM GMT
Orthopaedic surgeons decry high rate of musculoskeletal tumour among Nigerians
Musculoskeletal tumour is a situation where cancer develops within the body's tissues.

The Nigerian Orthopaedic Association has lamented the high rate of musculoskeletal tumours among Nigerians, saying it is a sickness people don’t pay much attention to.

The association, at the opening ceremony of its 46th Annual General Meeting (AGM) and Scientific conference in Abuja on Thursday, defined

musculoskeletal tumour as a situation where cancers develop within the body tissues.

The National President of the association, Dr. Muhammad Salihu, said that this situation made one see a lot of overgrowth tissue all around the body.

Salihu added that such sickness was common among the Nigerian populace.

According to him, when you mention tumours, people begin to think about breast cancer or cervical cancer, and that musculoskeletal tumour is not always mentioned because doctors are not making noise about it.

*Quite a lot of Nigerians are dying from musculoskeletal tumours, which we have gathered in Abuja to discuss. There are about 70 papers to be discussed all around musculoskeletal tumours, the way to go about them, and the modalities of treatment.

“We want to urge the government to actually put in musculoskeletal tumours as one of the tumours that will require intervention from it, not only brain drain, breast cancer, and cervical cancer. Quite a lot of Nigerians are dying even from both tumours, cervical and breast cancer.

“We hope the government will come to our aid for us to be able to reduce the main menace of these tumours; having said that, we will like to reiterate that we have quite a lot of international support for this AGM.

“Companies that are producing high-level materials are all here today, participating in this AGM; some of them are the ones who gave us free prosthetics that we use for surgery on some of our patients.

“Surgeons are here to brainstorm on musculoskeletal tumours and the way forward for Nigeria,” he said.

He identified some of the challenges in the management and discussions around oncology, adding that the first was to relate treatment to the patient and that the best treatment was for the patient to come early for it.

According to him, some patients don’t come early for treatment until their situation gets worse, and some of them will have to attempt the traditional way first before they later think of the orthodox way.

He said that before they got the doctor’s attention, the situation might have become worse, and such a tumour might have metamorphosed into an uncontrollable situation.

Other challenges associated with musculoskeletal tumours include treatment.

He said the treatment of such sickness was not cheap and that quite a number of patients could not afford the money for the treatment.

According to him, the treatment of oncology is multidisciplinary and requires the assistance of pathology and radiology, and collaboration among the professionals sometimes becomes a challenge.

He, however, solicited the support of the government through the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS) and other stakeholders to help in subsidising the cost of treatment for musculoskeletal tumours.

He said that the government could decide to buy materials like prosthetics and implants for the surgeons, adding that by so doing, it would help in subsidising the materials and would make the cost of the materials cheaper.

He also called on the government to do something fast about the brain drain being experienced in the medical field, adding that the government needed to prioritise the welfare of orthopaedic surgeons in Nigeria and stop the emigration of its members.

The Coordinating Minister of Health and Social Welfare, Prof. Ali Pate, commended the surgeons over the AGM, stressing that trauma could create huge costs for the country and was now the leading cause of death and a major contributor to disability.

Represented by the Permanent Secretary in the ministry, Mrs. Kachollom Daju, Pate said that in Nigeria, patients with musculoskeletal tumours were often present at the hospital late, usually with advanced diseases, and this resulted in undesired outcomes—disabilities and deaths.

According to him, it mostly affects the young population between the ages of 11 and 40 and, incidentally, constitutes the greater proportion of the Nigerian population.

He said that the situation had a direct or indirect impact on the national demography and economy.

The minister said that the Nigeria Orthopaedic Association has been a leading advocate for improving musculoskeletal tumour and trauma care in Nigeria.

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