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SAMJ: South African Medical Journal

On-line version ISSN 2078-5135
Print version ISSN 0256-9574


UGWUMBA, F O  and  AGHAJI, A E. Testicular cancer: management challenges in an African developing country. SAMJ, S. Afr. med. j. [online]. 2010, vol.100, n.7. ISSN 2078-5135.

BACKGROUND: Advances in oncology have greatly improved the prognosis of testicular cancer. In developing countries, however, the outcome is still poor. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Twenty-four patients managed for testicular cancer at two centres (University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Enugu, Nigeria, and JAMA Urological Clinic, Enugu) between April 1984 and March 2003 were prospectively studied. Histopathological data were obtained in all cases. RESULTS: Peak age incidence was 20 - 29 years. Testicular swelling was the principal complaint in 23 patients. The mean interval between onset of symptoms and presentation was 5.3 months. Two patients (8.3%) presented with stage 1 disease, 7 (29.2%) with stage 2, 7 (29.2%) with stage 3, and 8 (33.3%) with stage 4. Seventy-five per cent of tumours were right-sided, and 25% were left-sided. Treatment consisted of radical orchidectomy in all patients and cisplatin-based chemotherapy and radiotherapy in some patients. One patient with a tumour in an intra-abdominal testis underwent laparotomy. The most common histological types were seminoma and embryonal carcinoma. A fifth of the patients died, while half were lost to follow-up. The mean follow-up period was 9 months. CONCLUSION: Morbidity and mortality of testicular cancer is high in developing countries. Late presentation, poverty, paucity of resources and the high cost of newer imaging modalities and treatment are major challenges to management. Better health funding and education regarding testicular self-examination is essential.

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