The Chief Medical Director of Bowen University Teaching Hospital, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Prof. Samuel Eyesan, has said ignorance and patronage of traditional bone setters are some of the factors aiding the spread of cancer of the bone among Nigerians.
Eyesan, who is also an orthopaedic oncologist, said this at Bowen University, Iwo in Osun State , while delivering the inaugural lecture titled, ‘Extremity tumours of the bone and soft tissues: Saving the lives and limbs.’
He said, rather than seeking orthodox treatment for orthopaedic conditions, some patients preffered to seek spiritual solutions to them while some would go to traditional bone setters.
He said this common practice in Sub-Saharan Africa was responsible for the development of secondary malignant growths which caused an increase in limb amputation and deaths.
The surgeon urged people with tumours to seek solutions to their problems from medical experts, saying that could assist in reducing the number of limb amputations and even deaths.
Eyesan said, “Some religious groups refuse blood transfusion and limb amputation. Many people believe that their tumours are spiritual or witchcraft-induced, therefore, can only be solved spiritually.
“Belief in the efficacy of traditional care for orthopaedic conditions in Sub-Saharan Africa results in prolonged palliative measures with traditional bone setters, whose practices, like tumour massaging can aid tumour dissemination and metastasis.
“Sadly, some patients are genuinely ignorant of the need for urgent intervention. Illiteracy dissuades patients from seeking timely medical intervention before metastatic complications ensue.”
Eyesan also pointed to poverty as the reason some patients refuse to visit hospitals for tumour treatment, saying they would prefer to use traditional ointments with the belief that such tumours would disappear.
He said the delay in presenting most of the cases at the hospital was the reason for some limb amputations and deaths while urging people with a tumour to visit hospitals, stressing the need for early referral to specialist units.
He said there was very little time allocated to orthopaedics in the current undergraduate curriculum in the country, saying resident doctors only acquire knowledge and practical experience in general orthopaedics.
Eyesan, who said he started the Orthopaedic Oncology Unit at the National Orthopaedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, after his training in Sweden, stated that Nigeria, with a population of about 180 million people, had less than 10 orthopaedic oncologists resident in the country.