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Year : 2019  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 5  |  Page : 268-272

Cancer mortality in the Niger Delta Region of Nigeria: A case study of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital

1 Department of Anatomical Pathology and Cancer Registry Unit, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
2 Department of Pathology, University of Uyo Teaching Hospital, Uyo, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
Obiorah C Christopher
Department of Anatomical Pathology, Cancer Registry Unit, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/nmj.NMJ_15_19

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Aim: The aim of this study is to determine the pattern of cancer mortality (CM) seen in the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital (UPTH) which is a cancer reference center in the Niger Delta Region. Methodology: This is a 6-year retrospective study of cancer-related deaths in UPTH using patients' admission registers in all the wards and emergency units. Furthermore, the death certificates of cases were reviewed. Results: Three hundred and sixteen cases of cancer-related deaths occurred, involving 174 females and 142 males, in a female-to-male sex ratio of 1.2:1. All age groups were affected, with age group 40–49 years accounting for the majority (20.6%). CM was seen in all the systems, except the central nervous system. Cancers of the gastrointestinal tract and its accessory organs (liver and gall bladder) caused most mortality (27.9%), in a female-to-male ratio of 0.8:1. The single most involved organ in CM is the female breast (20.6%), distantly followed by mortality due to prostate cancers and hematolymphoid cancers which accounted for 9.2% each. Colorectal cancers accounted for 7.3% of cancer deaths and ranked 4th. Cancers of both cervix and stomach each accounted for 5.7% of mortality. The major histologic diagnoses were carcinomas (adenocarcinoma; 36.7%, invasive ductal carcinoma; 20.3%, squamous cell carcinomas; 8.2% and hepatocellular carcinomas; 4.4%). Leukemias and lymphomas accounted for 9.2% of cases, whereas sarcomas accounted for 5.1% of cases. Conclusion: Infection-related and noninfection-related cancers cause most mortality in UPTH. The 5th decade was the most commonly affected, while female breast was the single most involved organ. Breast, prostate and hematolymphoid malignancies are common causes of CM with death from breast occurring earliest. Majority of the deceased were educated, working-class urban dwellers. More advocacies on public acceptance of cancer screening and cancer preventive lifestyles as well as governments' improvement on workforce training and treatment infrastructure will improve the current CM profile in Port Harcourt.

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