Cancers in children younger than age 16 years in kenya
Objective: To determine the number of cancers seen in six months in children aged below sixteen years and to look for any associations with breastfeeding, parental ages, smoking, water availability and consanguinity. Design: Prospective case study from June 1997 through December 1997. Setting: Seven provincial hospitals and Kenyatta National Referral Hospital. Subjects: Both sexes with tissue proven malignancy. Interventions: By obtaining clinical information, and laboratory evaluatory results. Main outcome measure,' Proportions of vital statistics, anatomic site, stage and histology of cancer, vaccination, breastfeeding, congenital abnormality, parental vital statistics, education, smoking, water availability status and consanguinity. Results: One hundred and fifty even cases were evaluated. Male to female (M:F) ratio was 1.5:1. Mean ages: patients 6.5, fathers 36.6, mothers 31.1 years. Histologic types were: Burkitt's lymphoma (8L) 45%, nephroblastoma 14%. Hodgkin's lymphoma 9.5%, acute lymphocytic leukaemia 7.6%, retinoblastoma 5.7%, acute myeloid leukaemia 5.1 %. The age distribution was as follows: 0-5 years 46.5%, 6-10, 39.5% and 11-16 years 14%. The birth places of the children were as follows: Nyanza 25%, Central 21 %, Eastern 16%, Western 13%. Rift Valley 9%, Coast 8% airobi 8% and North Eastern had less than one per cent. The ethnic distribution was; Luo 25 %, Kikuyu 22%, Luhya 13%, Kamba 10%, Coastal 6%, Kalenjin 6%, others 19%. Fifty per cent of the cases studied were breastfed for over six months, 34 % for 3-6 months, five per cent less than three months and eleven per cent were not breastfed. Eighty five per cent of the cases received complete vaccination. The modal number of siblings was four and only 49 % of parents received formal education. No consanguinity was noted in the studied population. The abdomen and jaw were main anatomic sites involved by the tumours. Conclusion: This study showed that the commonest childhood tumour is Burkitt's lymphoma and nephroblastoma is the commonest solid tumour. While the results demonstrate geographic and ethnic variations, other factors studied do not appear to influence the characteristics of cancers in the cases investigated.