Colorectal Cancer: Late Presentation and Outcome of Treatment

CI Madubogwu


Background: Colorectal cancer remains a major health
problem especially in developed countries where it ranks as
the third most common cause of cancer in both men and
women. Though incidence of colorectal cancer is low in
Nigeria and other developing countries, outcome of
treatment remains poor due largely to late presentation,
ignorance, poverty and superstition.
Aim: This study evaluates the stage of presentation and
treatment outcome of colorectal cancer at the Nnamdi
Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, Nnewi, Nigeria.
Method: Records of patients admitted into the hospital
with confirmed colorectal cancer between January, 2000 to
December, 2008 were retrieved. Data on age, sex, duration
of illness, clinical features, treatment given and outcome of
treatment were collected and analyzed.
Results: Out of 32 patients, 10(31.3%) were males and
22(68.7%) were females, with a male to female ratio of
1:2.1.The patients' ages ranged from 24-90 years with a
mean of 55.8 years. Eighteen (56.3%) patients presented
more than 6 months after onset of symptoms. Twenty-one
(65.6%) patients presented with features of intestinal
obstruction; 17(53.1%) with rectal bleeding; 13(40.6%) with
abdominal pain and 12(37.5%) with significant weight loss.
Twelve (37.5%) patients died before completion of

treatment regimen. Thirteen (40.6%) patients were lost to
follow-up, while 5 (15.6%) patients were discharged against
medical advice. Only 2 (6.3%) patients completed their
treatment regimen.
Conclusion: The incidence of colorectal cancer is still low
in our environment but treatment outcome remains poor
due to late presentation. Public enlightenment with
emphasis on early presentation should be encouraged.

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