Incidence rates of head and neck cancers in Nairobi Kenya
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Although there are a number of papers on head and neck cancers in Kenya, there is a need for national data on the incidence, morbidity and mortality associated with these malignancies. The Nairobi Cancer registry (NCR) was set up in 2001as the first step in addressing this need. OBJECTIVES: The aim of the study is to report on the frequency of histologically diagnosed head and neck cancer cases in the Nairobi region for the 3 year period between 2000 – 2002. MATERIALS & METHODS: The NCR collects details of histologically and cytologically confirmed cancer cases from 26 public and private laboratories throughout Nairobi and its environs. Raw data for the years 2000 – 2002 on cancers reported in male and female patients in the head and neck and other sites was extracted from the NCR and analysed in 5 year age groups. The NCR acknowledges a certain degree of under reporting due to logistical problems in receiving data from all the targeted centres. RESULTS: Of the 2959 cancer patients reported; 1350 (45.62%) were male and 1609 (54.38%) were female. 75.74% of the patients were above 40 years of age. Head and neck cancers contributed to 10.17% of malignancies diagnosed. The most common cancers in female patients were cancers of the breast (22.90%) and cervix uteri (19.60%) while in male patients, head and neck (14.60%), oesophageal (10.00%) and prostate (8.60%) cancers appeared to be more common. Male patients constituted 65.44% of the head and neck cancer cases and the most common sites of occurrence were the oral mucosa (30.23%), nasopharynx, tongue (16.61%) and larynx (14.95%). CONCLUSIONS: Our data indicates that male patients are at higher risk of developing head and neck cancers. This may be due to exposure to aetiological factors such as tobacco and alcohol.