In a developing country like Nepal, delivering health care service in a rural setting is a major challenge. Binaytara Foundation Cancer Center (BTFCC) has launched a head and neck cancer treatment program in Janakpur, Nepal from April, 2022 to address the cancer care in rural Nepal. We outline the development of the program, highlight specific developments, and discuss significant considerations for those working in global oncology.
The objective of the study is to collect epidemiological and clinical data on all individuals who visited to Head and Neck Surgical Oncology department at BTFCC in Janakpur, which represents the cluster of this sub-urban population. We aim to lay the foundation for future investigation of the incidence of oral cancer and its associated characteristics in Madhesh province of Nepal.
We did a retrospective chart review of patients seeking treatment at Head and Neck Surgical Oncology Department from April 2022 to December 2022. We also reflected on our experiences and challenges in key areas of ensuring access to safe and cost-effective treatment.
The program has inclusion of a total of 30 patients who presented to the Head and Neck Surgical Oncology department. 50% (N-15) of the patients had a diagnosis of oral cancer and were enrolled for tumor board discussion. A total of 6/30 (20%) patients had Oral Potentially Malignant Disorders (OPMD). Our results were likely influenced by stage at presentation, with 60% (9/15) of oral cancer patients presented in Forth stage. Future efforts will therefore be focused on continuing to improve the level of care, spread awareness, increase screening, and promote early detection and treatment.
Our experiences may provide information on implementation of protocol-based cancer treatment programs in resource-poor settings and can provide valuable lessons learned for future global oncology efforts.