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Lung cancer diagnosis is very challenging – NMA

By Chioma Obinna
THE process of diagnosis of lung cancer, described as one of the most deadly and difficult conditions that afflict mankind, is very challenging.  Chairman of the Lagos State Branch of the Nigeria Medical Association (NMA), Dr. Adedamola Dada told Good Health Weekly that  like most cancers, the cause of lung cancer remains very unclear but very strong predisposing factors like smoking have been established.

Dada who avowed that the diagnosis of the disease could be missed anywhere in the world even with best hands and best equipment, said there are scientific reports where diagnostic reports are even made at post mortem.

“It is tribute to this disease that despite this strong association with smoking it is not all who smoke that develops lung cancer and it is not all who develop lung cancer have history of smoking and even more intriguing is the process of its diagnosis.

“Without making any excuses for the challenges in our healthcare system including the very poor referral system in our health structure particularly to the tertiary centres where expertises exist an important advise is for Nigerians to always insist on referrals if health challenges exist.

Eulogising late luminary icon Chief Gani Fawehinwi, whose death from lung cancer was now public knowledge, Dada said controversy of circumstances of his diagnosis and treatment had challenged the  NMA to continue to educate first line physicians (general practitioners) on this important concept of practice.

Further noting that Gani’s diagnosis was not made in Nigeria but London, he said “The Nigerian Medical Association has since discussed with the thoracic surgeons practicing in Lagos and they have confirmed that Gani was not their patient and therefore did not consult them. These people are our own equivalent of experts in the cancer centre in London.

Apparently exonerating Nigerian doctors, Dada said even with the usual check-ups abroad, the late activist could not reveal his condition. “This proves our point that the diagnosis is in the turf of the specialists and can sometimes be challenging.”


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