Expert advises against using herbal medicines to cure leg cancer.

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A Consultant Radiologist, Dr. Jane Igwilo, has advised the public to seek urgent medical interventions, rather than resort to herbal remedies to treat swollen legs or unhealed wounds on limbs.

The expert, who is also the Head of Radiology, National Orthopedic Hospital, Igbobi, Lagos, gave the warning in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria on Tuesday in Lagos.

She noted that cases of limb cancer had increased with many patients presenting late at the hospital for treatment and that most of them usually required amputation.

According to her, there is no reliable evidence from research that herbal remedies could treat, prevent or cure any type of cancer.

“Cancer cases have really increased, especially in children. It used to be few, but now it is almost equal to that of adults.

“Because cancer is a specialised area, ignorance of the public about cancer symptoms and its management is low, which is responsible for the late presentation of patients for treatment.

“They come with the notion that it is a spiritual attack. They believe they must have stepped on poison and present with swollen, bleeding and deformed limbs.

“Many of them would have visited traditional bone setters and told to perform sacrifices, and by the time they present at the hospital, the cancer would have advanced,” she said.

Dr. Igwilo appealed to other medical practitioners not to treat patients with cancer of the limb and implored them to rather, refer them to cancer specialists.

She also said biopsy should not be conducted on the patients, noting that conducting the procedure would make the cancer spread.

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Biopsy is a medical term for an examination of tissue removed from a living body to determine the presence, cause or extent of a disease.

Igwilo said that the cause of bone cancer was unknown.

She, however, noted that factors such as genetics, age and ethnicity increase the risk of developing the disease.

According to her, the burden of musculoskeletal cancer is huge, especially in adolescents who have osteosarcoma.

Osteosarcoma is a type of bone cancer that begins in the cells that form bones. It occurs more frequently in boys than girls.

Dr. Igwilo said that osteosarcoma constitutes 30 per cent of all bone cancers diagnosed and is mostly diagnosed in teenagers and young people (aged 11 to 30 years). She, however, said could also affect older adults.

She explained that treatment usually involved chemotherapy (treatment by use of chemical substances), surgery and, sometimes, radiation therapy.

According to Dr. Igwilo, a multidisciplinary team involving orthopaedic surgeons, radiologists, histopathologists, medical oncologists, radiotherapists, prosthetic designers, rehabilitation specialists and medical social workers are involved in patients’ care.

She said that various medical practitioners in partnership with some non-governmental organisations are creating awareness about cancers to increase early detection and treatment.

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