Medics have warned individuals who ignore common ailments such as headaches and stomach upsets, and instead opt for medication without any medical consultation.
Such patients, often, seek immediate medical attention only when they experience symptoms perceived to be life-threatening, such as coughing blood and intense abdominal pain.
Dr Alphonse Ndakyenerwa of King Faisal Hospital Kigali, urged members of the public to always seek professional medical assistance whenever they experience such ailments and symptoms.
“Common ailments such as general abdominal pain and small swellings in the private parts can develop into serious diseases such as stomach and cervical cancer,” Ndakyenerwa warned.
He called upon members of the public to always undergo medical examinations before taking medication to ensure that the precise ailment is treated.
“If people prescribe medication for themselves without seeing a doctor, the medicine might not be effective because they may be treating the wrong disease,” the doctor said.
He added that one may realise when it is too late that what they considered a common ailment is actually a serious disease.
Dr Ndakyenerwa also highlighted that some patients decline to abide by doctors’ advice and this, he said, could escalate into a major problem.
He advised the public to always conform to doctors’ advice even in instances of simple actions like exercises and avoid prescriptions through hearsay or the Internet.
Another physician, Wim Schonbee of Gahini Hospital, stated that ‘small infections and complications’ should not be ignored.
He said these might develop into diseases which could have been avoidable with early treatment.
“Small complications such as sudden change in bowel patterns, diarrhoea and constipation could cause colon or cervical cancer,” Schonbee said.
He advised that if one, for instance, gets persistent headaches, they should avoid taking paracetamol without seeing a doctor.
People should often seek professional medical advice even with ordinary symptoms such as intense headaches, troubled breathing, and sudden weight loss before they develop into other fatal complications.