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Dr. Mona Abdel Halim's Blog

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Limitations of immunohistochemistry in Egypt

Dr. Mona Abdel-Halim


In all the meetings that I have attended abroad, I have been always fascinated by the feasibility of applying different panels of markers for diagnosis of tumors. This is definitely a good tool in the hands of the dermatopathologist.

However, in countries like Egypt, different panels may not be available and if available they are very expensive. Moreover, we do not have a National Health Service (NHS) that cover such expenses. In private practice, patients will have to pay for all these markers. In university hospitals where poor people are treated, doctors and staff members regularly collect money and raise funds that are used in buying medications that are not available in the hospital or in paying for these markers. Accordingly, we are always restricted to do the most necessary markers. We do not have the luxury to do all panels!!

I do believe that there are certain situations where you can't know what the lesion is without markers. But there are situations where the morphology is clear but the markers will just provide further documentation for the sake of case presentation or reporting. Usually we limit the use of markers to the first situation. Also as a consequence to this shortage, we learned to pay a lot of attention to morphological details and clinical presentation of different lesions. I think this has added to our skills.

In spite our limitation, we as a Dermatopathology Unit in the Department of Dermatology, Cairo University are growing very steadily and our collection of teaching cases is expanding. We might not have all facilities available elsewhere, but we have passion, faith and perseverance.


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