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Year : 2012  |  Volume : 53  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 245-248

Paediatric head and neck cancers in Nigeria: Implications for treatment planning in resource limited settings

1 Department of Oral Pathology, University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria
2 Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
3 Department of Pathology, University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Agaku T Israel
Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston MA 02115
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0300-1652.107604

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Background: The head and neck (H/N) is a common site for childhood cancers. This study examined all cases of H/N childhood cancers diagnosed in a major teaching hospital in Nigeria over 18 years to determine patterns of broad lineage cancer groups. Materials and Methods: Primary pediatric childhood malignancies diagnosed between 1990 and 2008 were analysed. Logistic regression models were fitted to determine significant clinical correlates of childhood cancer. Results: Lymphomas were the commonest cancers (49.5%). After controlling for site and age, there was no significant difference in the incidence of Burkitt's lymphoma (BL) by sex ( P=0.423). The jaw bones (mandible and maxilla) were the commonest sites in the H/N for involvement of BL, with over 20 times the odds of occurrence when compared to other non-jaw sites of the H/N region (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=21.41, P<0.001). Among the jaw bones, there was no significant difference in the occurrence of BL ( P=0.860). Conclusion: Lymphomas are the commonest cancer group among children in Nigeria. In resource limited settings where diagnoses depend majorly on clinical intuition, an awareness of predictors of a disease can shorten the time spent on arriving at a working diagnosis and guide the immediate choice of investigations and treatment.

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