Science of Gynecological Cancers in Africa: Highlights from AORTIC 2021 Abstracts

“The biennial AORTIC International Conference on Cancer in Africa is the definitive event on the African health calendar, enabling the exchange of ideas and the opportunity to learn from oncology leaders from all over Africa and around the world.”

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The 13th  African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer (AORTIC) International Conference on Cancer in Africa will take place virtually from November 5 -10 2021, bringing together multidisciplinary specialists from the global cancer community to discuss the Science of Cancer in Africa. In a series of blogs, we will highlight some of the cancer research that will be highlighted during the conference.

Cervical Cancer

Cervical Cancers are significant burdens to women of African descent. To better understand ways to mitigate high cost and complexity of treatment, Dr. Aminu Aliyu describes “An Assessment of Knowledge, Attitude and Practice of Cervical Cancer Screening using Thermal Alation and Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid in Kebbi State and FCT, Nigeria.” Through questionnaires, which included pre and post- training assessments among 90 healthcare workers, findings indicated a need for more knowledge of cervical cancer treatment, and that thermal ablation and VIA for cervical cancer is one way to improve efficiency and effectiveness of screening and treatment of cervical cancer in Nigeria.

Mr. Niyomugabo conducted a study entitled “Assessing Knowledge and Practice Regarding Cervical Cancer Screening with Visual Inspection with Acetic Acid/ Visual Inspection with Lugor Iodine (VIA/VILI) Among the Nurses and Midwives at Rutongo District Hospital and its Catchment Area.” After quantitative analysis utilizing a questionnaire involving 97 participants, it was determined that most respondents were not aware of VIA/VILI for screening purposes. As this method is recommended by the World Health Organization, workers at Rotongo Hospital and the surrounding catchment areas could benefit from using VIA/VILI in cervical cancer screening. 

 Ovarian Cancer

Dr. Koulibaly and colleagues describe a study “Échographie Et Masses Ovariennes: Aspects Épidémio-Cliniques Et Histologiques“, that assesses the epidemiological, clinical, ultrasound and histological aspects of ovarian masses in women. As a prospective study over a six-month period, it was found that the major reasons for patients seeking consultation was Pelvic pain, menstrual cycle disorders and the feeling of pelvic heaviness. They observe that utilizing ultrasounds, in conjunction with histology while using epidemiological and clinical data, is of utmost important when diagnosing ovarian tumors.

Uterine Cancer

Dr. Diatta and colleagues conducted the descriptive study “Etude Cytogenetique Moleculaire Des Choriocarcinomes Uterins Au Centre Hospitalier Universitaire De Dakar” in which they analyzed sixteen choriocarcinoma DNA after histological confirmation.  They determined that Choriocarcinoma is a malignant tumor that are likely to be of gestational origin and it is necessary to perform molecular genotyping to the genetic profile of the choriocarcinoma that derives from certain pregnancy. They conclude that the etiological research of choriocarcinomas has diagnostic, prognostic, therapeutic and preventive implications.

Gynecological cancers are an increasing burden in Africa and impacts quality of life, mortality, and overall health. Through innovative research strategies, it is possible to address widespread issues and implement effective strategies to break down barriers and improve care and well-being.

Dr. Manisha Salinas is a behavioral scientist with a focus on health disparities research and public health. Her doctoral training was in health promotion and community health science from Texas A&M University. She is currently a Research Fellow at Mayo Clinic and works within the Center for Health Equity and Community Engagement Research, as well as the Department of Hematology and Oncology. Her research has focuses on improving health promotion strategies to underrepresented populations through community-based approaches, addressing disparities and advocating for health equity through translational science.

Dr. Hamid Olanipekun is a urologist with a special interest in urological oncology particularly prostate, bladder, and kidney cancers. He had his first degree in Medicine and Surgery (MBBS) at the University of Ilorin and later had post-graduate residency training in Urology and was awarded the Fellowship of West African College of Surgeons (FWACS Urol).  He is also a member of the Royal College of Surgeons (MRCS), currently undergoing post-fellowship training in endo-urology at the prestigious Royal Berkshire Hospital in the United Kingdom. Hamid Olanipekun is a  master scholar of African Behavioural Research (ABER) and had training in Health Disparities and Community Engagement Research. His research focus is reducing the morbidity and mortality of prostate cancer and bladder cancer in LMIC using the community engagement research approach.

Manisha Salinas

Research Fellow, Mayo Clinic