Demographics, clinical presentation and risk factors of ocular surface squamous neoplasia at a tertiary hospital, South Africa

The aim of this study is to describe the demographic, presenting features and associated risk factors of ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) at a tertiary eye hospital in Johannesburg, South Africa.

An interventional prospective study of patients presenting with conjunctival masses was conducted. An electronic questionnaire was completed to document demographic data, presenting history, and associated risk factors. A slit lamp examination and photos were used to document and describe the clinical features at presentation. Cases (OSSN) and controls (benign lesions) were determined by histology.

There were 130 cases and 45 controls. Median age was 44 years (IQR: 35–51) with an equal gender distribution in cases. The prevalence of HIV in cases was 74% and was strongly associated with OSSN (p < 0.001). Vascularisation, leukoplakia and pigmentation were clinical features that distinguished cases from controls. A fibrovascular morphology was strongly associated with a benign histology (p < 0.001), whereas leukoplakic and gelatinous morphologies were associated with OSSN. Conjunctival intra-epithelial neoplasia made up 82% of cases.

Our study describes a sample of OSSN that is young and has no gender predisposition. The majority of cases presented with CIN lesions, rather than SCC reported in other African countries. HIV was the most significant risk factor in this study population.

How I Treat Alveolar Soft Part Sarcoma? The Therapeutic Journey from Nihilism to Cautious Optimism…

Alveolar soft part sarcoma (ASPS) is a very rare subtype, constituting less than 0.5% of malignant Soft tissue sarcoma.[1] It is an orphan disease affecting adolescents and young adults, predominantly females.[2] The rarity of the disease, with its indolent but relentless natural history and enigmatic line of differentiation, makes its diagnosis a challenge. Despite being a chemoresistant disease, it is known for prolonged survival even in a few metastatic patients with spontaneous disease stabilization and indolent disease behavior. Targeted therapy with antiangiogenic agents and immunotherapy is the way forward for this rare disease. In this review, we aim to give an overview of the approach to diagnosis and management of this orphan disease in 2022 in the Indian setting, which is widely applicable in other low-middle income countries (LMIC) as well.

Duration of the patient interval in breast cancer and factors associated with longer delays in low-and middle-income countries: A systematic review with meta-analysis

Breast cancer survival is lower in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) partially due to many women being diagnosed with late-stage disease. The patient interval refers to the time elapsed between the detection of symptoms and the first consultation with a healthcare provider and is considered one of the core indicators for early diagnosis and treatment. The goal of the current research was to conduct a meta-analysis of the duration of the patient interval in LMICs and investigate the socio-demographic and socio-cultural factors related to longer delays in presentation.

We conducted a systematic review with meta-analysis (pre-registered protocol CRD42020200752). We searched seven information sources (2009–2022) and included 50 articles reporting the duration of patient intervals for 18,014 breast cancer patients residing in LMICs.

The longest patient intervals were reported in studies from the Middle East (3–4 months), followed by South-East Asia (2 months), Africa (1–2 months), Latin America (1 month), and Eastern Europe (1 month). Older age, not being married, lower socio-economic status, illiteracy, low knowledge about cancer, disregarding symptoms or not attributing them to cancer, fear, negative beliefs about cancer, and low social support were related to longer delays across most regions. Longer delays were also related to use of alternative medicine in the Middle East, South-East Asia, and Africa and distrust in the healthcare system in Eastern Europe.

There is large variation in the duration of patient intervals across LMICs in different geographical regions. Patient intervals should be reduced and, for this purpose, it is important to explore their determinants taking into account the social, cultural, and economic context.

Geographic Distribution of Cancer Care Providers in the Philippines

In the Philippines, a lower middle-income country in Southeast Asia, 6 of 10 Filipinos die without seeing a doctor. To ensure universal access to cancer care, providers must be equitably distributed. Therefore, we evaluated the distribution of oncologists across all 17 regions in the Philippines.

We gathered data from the official websites of national medical societies on their members’ regional area of practice: Philippine Society of Medical Oncology, Philippine Radiation Oncology Society, Surgical Oncology Society of the Philippines, Society of Gynecologic Oncologists of the Philippines, and Philippine Society of Hospice and Palliative Medicine. We compared this with the regional census to determine the number of board-certified oncologists per 100,000 Filipinos.

For a population of almost 110 million, the Philippines has a total of 348 medical oncologists, 164 surgical oncologists, 99 radiation oncologists, 142 gynecologic oncologists, and 35 hospice and palliative medicine (HPM) specialists. This translates to 0.32 medical oncologists, 0.15 surgical oncologists, 0.09 radiation oncologists, 0.13 gynecologic oncologists, and 0.03 HPM specialists for every 100,000 Filipinos. The number of oncologists is highest in the National Capital Region in Luzon and lowest in the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao. All regions have at least one medical and gynecologic oncologist. Two regions (12%) have no surgical oncologists, five regions (29%) have no radiation oncologists, and eight regions (47%) have no HPM specialists.

Efforts are needed to increase the number of oncologists and improve equity in their distribution to ensure universal access to cancer care in the Philippines.

Pediatric renal tumor epidemiology: Global perspectives, progress, and challenges

Pediatric renal tumors account for 3%–11% of childhood cancers, the most common of which is Wilms tumor or nephroblastoma. Epidemiology plays a key role in cancer prevention and control by describing the distribution of cancer and discovering risk factors for cancer. Large pediatric research consortium trials have led to a clearer understanding of pediatric renal tumors, identification of risk factors, and development of more risk-adapted therapies. These therapies have improved event-free and overall survival for children. However, several challenges remain and not all children have benefited from the improved outcomes. In this article, we review the global epidemiology of pediatric renal tumors, including key consortium and global studies. We identify current knowledge gaps and challenges facing both high and low middle-incomes countries.

Cost-effectiveness of childhood cancer treatment in Egypt: Lessons to promote high-value care in a resource-limited setting based on real-world evidence

Childhood cancer in low-and middle-income countries is a global health priority, however, the perception that treatment is unaffordable has potentially led to scarce investment in resources, contributing to inferior survival. In this study, we analysed real-world data about the cost-effectiveness of treating 8886 children with cancer at a large resource-limited paediatric oncology setting in Egypt, between 2013 and 2017, stratified by cancer type, stage/risk, and disease status.

Childhood cancer costs (USD 2019) were calculated from a health-system perspective, and 5-year overall survival was used to represent clinical effectiveness. We estimated cost-effectiveness as the cost per disability-adjusted life-year (cost/DALY) averted, adjusted for utility decrement for late-effect morbidity and mortality.

For all cancers combined, cost/DALY averted was $1384 (0.5 × GDP/capita), which is very cost-effective according to WHO–CHOICE thresholds. Ratio of cost/DALY averted to GDP/capita varied by cancer type/sub-type and disease severity (range: 0.1–1.6), where it was lowest for Hodgkin lymphoma, and retinoblastoma, and highest for high-risk acute leukaemia, and high-risk neuroblastoma. Treatment was cost-effective (ratio <3 × GDP/capita) for all cancer types/subtypes and risk/stage groups, except for relapsed/refractory acute leukaemia, and relapsed/progressive patients with brain tumours, hepatoblastoma, Ewing sarcoma, and neuroblastoma. Treatment cost-effectiveness was affected by the high costs and inferior survival of advanced-stage/high-risk and relapsed/progressive cancers.

Childhood cancer treatment is cost-effective in a resource-limited setting in Egypt, except for some relapsed/progressive cancer groups. We present evidence-based recommendations and lessons to promote high-value in care delivery, with implications on practice and policy.

Egypt Cancer Network; NIHR School for Primary Care Research; ALSAC.

Highlights from Choosing Wisely 2022 for Resource Limited Settings: Reducing Low Value Cancer Care for Sustainability conference, 17th–18th September, Mumbai, India

The ‘Choosing Wisely 2022’ conference, organised by the ecancer foundation, was held at the Tata Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, India, on 17 and 18 September. It was a successful event with 159 delegates attending it in person and around 328 delegates attending online. Thirty oncology experts from across the world shared their thoughts during this meeting. The theme of the conference was to focus on cancer care, in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). The emphasis of discussion was on ways to select more cost-effective and high value treatments and interventions and minimise financial toxicity. In addition, cancer research from LMICs needs to be improved substantially. Collaboration and networking amongst cancer institutions in LMICs is essential.

Long-Term Outcomes in Survivors of Childhood Cancer: A 30-Year Experience From India

Despite an increasing number of survivors of childhood cancer (CCS) in low- and middle-income countries, survivorship care is in its nascent stages. We describe the spectrum of late effects seen, challenges faced, and lessons learnt over three decades of a late effects program in India.

We describe the demographics and profile of late effects of all CCS survivors enrolled in our After Completion of Treatment Clinic from February 5, 1991 (inception) to February 4, 2021. We analyzed the trends by the decade of diagnosis.

There were 3,067 CCS survivors, the median age was 18 years (range, 3-57 years), and the median follow-up was 11 years (range, 2-46 years). Two thirds (62.4%) had either no or mild late effects, 480 (15.6%), 497 (16.2%), and 162 (5.3%) had grades 2, 3, and 4 late effects, with 67 deaths reported. Notable late effects were chronic viral hepatitis (7.8%), thyroid dysfunction (7.5%), other endocrine issues (13.6%), psychosocial issues (57%), neurocognitive impairment (4.1%), and metabolic syndrome (4%). The cumulative incidence and severity of late effects showed a consistent decline by the decade of diagnosis. Twenty-two percent of survivors are lost to follow-up.

Survivors of childhood cancer treated on contemporary treatment protocols have a significantly lower side-effect profile. Attrition to long-term follow-up and psychosocial issues are significant concerns. Understanding the unique spectrum of late effects and establishing a holistic support system go a long way in ensuring the long-term physical and mental health and psychosocial concerns of childhood cancer survivors in low- and middle-income countries.

Retrospective analysis: checkpoint inhibitor accessibility for thoracic and head and neck cancers and factors influencing it in a tertiary centre in India

Background: Access to cancer care is an issue in low and low middle-income countries. The problem is worse with respect to access to new therapies like checkpoint inhibitors. Hence, we decided to audit our practice in the head and neck and thoracic medical oncology unit from 2015 to 2019 to study the accessibility of checkpoint inhibitors and factors influencing it.

Methods: All patients who were registered in the head and neck and thoracic medical oncology unit between 2015 and 2019 were included in the study. Patients who received immunotherapy were identified from the prospective database of immunotherapy maintained by the department. We made a list of patients who were eligible for immunotherapy per year and identified how many of them received recommended immunotherapy. The indication for eligibility of immunotherapy was based on published pivotal data and it was applicable from the date of publication of the study online. Descriptive statistics were performed. For nominal and ordinal variable percentage with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI) was provided. Factors impacting the accessibility of immunotherapy were identified.

Findings: A total of 15,674 patients were identified who required immunotherapy; out of them only 444 (2.83%, 95% CI: 2.58–3.1) received it. Among head and neck cancer patients, 4.5% (156 out of 3,435) received immunotherapy versus 2.35% (288 out of 12,239) among thoracic cancer patients (p < 0.001). Among the general category (low socioeconomic), 0.29% (28 out of 9,405 ) versus 6.6% (416 out of 6,269) among the private category (high socioeconomic) received immunotherapy (p < 0.001). While 3.7% (361 out of 9,737) among males versus 1.39% (83 out of 5,937) females received immunotherapy (p < 0.001). There was also a temporal trend seen in the accessibility of immunotherapy (p < 0.001). Conclusion: The accessibility of immunotherapy is below 3% in India. Patients with head and neck cancers, those registered as private category and male patients had higher access to this therapy. There was also a temporal trend observed suggesting increased accessibility over the years.

Embracing robotic surgery in low- and middle-income countries: Potential benefits, challenges, and scope in the future

Robotic surgery has applications in many medical specialties, including urology, general surgery, and surgical oncology. In the context of a widespread resource and personnel shortage in Low- and Middle-Income Countries(LMICs), the use of robotics in surgery may help to reduce physician burnout, surgical site infections, and hospital stays. However, a lack of haptic feedback and potential socioeconomic factors such as high implementation costs and a lack of trained personnel may limit its accessibility and application. Specific improvements focused on improved financial and technical support to LMICs can help improve access and have the potential to transform the surgical experience for both surgeons and patients in LMICs. This review focuses on the evolution of robotic surgery, with an emphasis on challenges and recommendations to facilitate wider implementation and improved patient outcomes.