Retrospective Appraisal of Cancer Patients from Vientiane Capital City, Lao People’s Democratic Republic (PDR), Seeking Treatment in Thailand


Background: Recent estimates suggest that in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) the burden ofcancer in terms of DALYs lost is amongst the highest in South East Asia. As such, increasingly cancer is becomingan important public health concern in the country. Lao PDR however has no population-based cancer registryand only one hospital-based registry. Cancer treatment within the country is extremely limited. Patients who can,may travel to neighboring countries for treatment, but little information about this is available in the country.The aim of this study was to estimate some of the otherwise largely unknown parameters of the cancer burdenin Lao PDR. Materials and
Methods: This is a retrospective, descriptive study based on the records of 847 Laocancer cases treated with surgery, radiation and chemotherapy at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen University,in Thailand between 1988 and 2010.
Results: The annual rate of registration of Lao cancer cases fluctuated, butshowed an increasing trend. Most cancers were diagnosed by histology (65.2%), and a combination of endoscopyand radiology (15.6%). In most cases (70.2%) the stage of cancer at diagnosis could not be determined. In thosewhose stage could be identified, 54.0% were at the final stage (Stage IV). Among males, the commonest cancersites were the liver (16.1%), blood (12.3%) and nasopharynx (10.6%). Those in female patients were the cervix(22.2%), breast (14.6%) and blood (8.1%).
Conclusions: This study indicates that despite some fluctuations, thenumber of Lao cancer patients presenting at Srinagarind Hospital, Khon Kaen, gradually increased between1988 and 2010. The unfavorable pattern of late-stage cancer diagnosis among male and female patients suggestsa need for cancer control interventions and the establishment of cancer registration and treatment facilitieswithin Lao PDR.