Title : Anaemia in cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy: Our experience at the national hospital Abuja, Nigeria
Introduction: Anaemia is one of the predisposing factors to poor patient outcome in cancer treatment and more than 50% of cancer patients will receive radiotherapy in the course of their treatment. It has been difficult to establish global or National benchmark on the baseline haemoglobin of patients selected for cancer therapy especially at different stages of the tumours. Various centers use different levels but there is a need to establish a national cut-off point. Establishing a uniform benchmark will inform a global best practice and increase the patient’s outcome and quality of life.
Objective: To examine the change in Hb level of cancer patients undergoing radiotherapy using serial Hb measurement.
Materials and Methods: A total of 63 voluntary patients with solid tumours were recruited within a period of 8 months. Baseline demographic characteristics and type of tumour were obtained. Pre-treatment Hb was measured on the first day of consultation. Patients were simulated and treated with Linear Accelerator. Their Hb levels were measured every 2 weeks during therapy. The whole process was terminated after 3 consecutive Hb reading.
Results and Data Analysis: Data collected was analyzed using SPSS version 10. Out of the 63 cancer patients, 92.1% were female and 7.9% were male considering that females report more to the clinic than males coupled with the fact that breast were mainly involved in this study. Age range was 25 – 75years, with median age of 50years. Breast 47.6% (30) was commonest site of tumour; 74.6% (47) presented with stage III disease. Prevalence of anemia in the study was 42.9%. At the end of therapy 55.6% (63) cancer patients had their Hb level between 11.52 – 12.13g/dl. At P-value > 0.05 there was no statistical significance on distribution of mean Hb, standard deviation based on sex and treatment type. Conclusion/recommendation: Radiotherapy has no significant effect of heamoglobin especially in patients with high baseline heamoglobin between 11g/dl to 12g/dl. Prevalence of anaemia in the studied patients was 42.9%. We recommend a benchmark of 11g/dl minimum for any patient being selected for radiotherapy in Nigeria.