PRIMARY HEAD AND NECK CANCERS IN NORTH WESTERN NIGERIA

Title of Paper PRIMARY HEAD AND NECK CANCERS IN NORTH WESTERN NIGERIA
Authors EC Otoh, NW Johnson, SO Ajike, A Mohammed, IS Danfillo
Year of Publication/Presentation 2009
Publication Details/Conference Venue West African Journal of Medicine 2009; 28(4): 227-233.
Research Area Others
Background
Reported epidemiological studies on oro-facial cancers in Nigeria over the last four decades showed non-standardized inclusion criteria and an overlap of study periods, resulting in conflicting findings.
Objectives
To document the pattern of reportable primary head and neck cancers in North West Nigeria and analyze trends.
Study Design
A study based on both clinical and histopathology records of head and neck cancers diagnosed by histopathology at the ABUTH, Zaria, between January 1972 and December 2002.
Results
A total of 2611 cases were diagnosed, 28% occurred in children, 68% in adults, with 64% occurring at or below 40 years. Ocular (22%) and oral cancer (10%) were commonly affected sites. Carcinomas (55%), lymphomas (23%) and retinoblastomas (10%) were the most common cancers. Cancers with of viral origin constituted 18% of head and neck cancers and AIDS-defining cancers were 6%. A significant increase was noted in the occurrence of conjuctival SCC and NHL when comparing the periods pre- and post- the advent of HIV/AIDS in Nigeria in 1986 (p<0.05). Comparing between the two periods, there was a reduction in the ages of occurrence of conjuctival SCC (p=0.024); NHL, KS and nasopharyngeal carcinoma (p>0.05), a rise in the occurrence of nasopharyngeal carcinoma (p=0.62) and a significant drop in the occurrence of Burkitt lymphoma (p=0.002).
Conclusion
Reduced age at presentation and the rising prevalence of several virus-associated cancers suggests the role of immuno-suppression in the pathogenesis of these cancers. Further studies into nutritional and viral epidemiology in the population are desirable as the implication for prevention and public health policy are profound.