Challenges of gynaecological cancer care in Nigeria – a review article


  • Dr. T.A.O. Oluwasola


Background: Gynaecological cancers and their management in the tropics constitute a big challenge to the gynaecological oncologist considering the overwhelming economic burden of care on patients and their relatives. These challenges are numerous and present at different levels vis-a-vis of prevention, diagnosis, treatment of the disease and patients’ follow up. The main thrust of this review was to illustrate the challenges affecting gynaecological cancer care in Nigeria and proffer potential opportunities for their early identification while making recommendations that may be beneficial in ameliorating their effects and impacts.

Methodology: Electronic search of local and international literatures was conducted in major databases including PubMed, Web of Science, Sciencedirect, EMBASE, SpringerLink, Scopus, JSTOR,
JaypeeDigital, and Google Scholar using appropriate MESH terms either individually or in combination. All relevant peer–reviewed articles and publications were identified, retrieved and reviewed.

Results: Challenges of management of gynaecological cancers are enormous and diverse. They vary at different levels of care and included poverty, lack of access to health care, inadequate or absence of basic infrastructure for cancer care and lack of political will. Delay at different levels of care leading to late presentation remains a leading factor that negatively contributes to survival.

Conclusion: Gynaecological cancer care in the tropics is a big challenge to health care providers. Efforts should be intensified in prompt identification of these challenges and offering solutions that will help in improving the health of our women.

Keywords: burden, care, challenges, gynaecologic cancer, Nigeria

Contexte: Les cancers gynécologiques et leur prise en charge dans les tropiques constituent un grand défi pour l’oncologue gynécologique compte tenu du fardeau économique accablant des soins pour les patients et leurs proches. Ces défis sont nombreux et présents à différents niveaux vis-àvis de la prévention, le diagnostic, le traitement de la maladie et la suivie des patientes. L’objectif principal de cette revue était d’illustrer les défis qui affectent les soins gynécologiques contre le cancer au Nigeria et de proposer des opportunités potentielles pour leur identification précoce tout en faisant des recommandations qui pourraient être bénéfiques pour améliorer leurs effets et leurs impacts.

Méthodologie : La recherche électronique des littératures locales et internationales a été menée dans des bases de données majeures telles que PubMed, Web of Science, Sciencedirect , EMBASE, SpringerLink , Scopus, JSTOR, JaypeeDigital et Google Scholar en utilisant les termes MESH appropriés individuellement ou en combinaison. Tous les articles et publications pertinents évalués par des pairs ont été identifiés, récupérés et examinés.

Résultats: Les défis de la prise en charge des cancers gynécologiques sont énormes et diversifiés. Ils varient selon les différents niveaux de soins et comprennent la pauvreté, le manque d’accès aux soins de santé, l’insuffisance ou l’absence d’infrastructures de base pour les soins contre le cancer et le manque de volonté politique. Retard à différents niveaux de soins menant à la présentation tardive reste un facteur majeur qui contribue négativement à la survie.

Conclusion: Les soins gynécologiques contre le cancer dans les tropiques représentent un défi important pour les fournisseurs de soins de santé. Les efforts devraient être intensifiés pour identifier rapidement ces défis et offrir des solutions qui aideront à améliorer la santé de nos femmes.

Mots clés: fardeau, soins, défis, cancer gynécologique, Nigéria

Correspondence: Dr. T.A.O. Oluwasola, Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, College of Medicine, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria. E-mail:


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