Histopathologic Pattern of Primary Head and Neck Cancers in Nigerian Tertiary Center

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Jude Obiora UCHENDU
Nekwu Emmanuel OKOLUGBO
Okiemute Mabel ETETEFIA


Objective: Head and neck cancers (HNCs) is a major health challenge globally and its incidence in Nigeria is poorly understood. The objective of the study was to evaluate the histologic pattern of HNC in a tertiary hospital in this region.

Methods: The study is a 6 year (2014-2019) retrospective descriptive study of age, gender, topography and histological type variation using histopathology reports of patients with diagnosis of HNCs in Delta State University Teaching Hospital (DELSUTH).

Results: Sixty-seven HNCs, constituting 10% of hospital cancer cases, were analyzed from 41 males and 26 females, with a mean age of 41.93 years, age range of 1-85 years and rate of 9-13 cases/year. Case distribution in the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th decades were 10.5%, 1.5%, 16.4%, 20.9%, 4.5%, 23.9%, 13.4%, 6.0% and 3.0% respectively. The upper digestive tract, the larynx, jaws, eye, upper airways, salivary glands, ear, thyroid, lymph nodes and skin were the sites in 7.5%, 1.5%, 7.5%, 7.5%, 13.4%, 19.4%, 1.5%, 15%, 17.9% and 9.0% of the cases respectively. Carcinoma, lymphoma, blastoma and sarcomas accounted for 65.7%, 20.9%, 7.5% and 6.0% of the cases respectively. The more common histological types are adenoid cystic carcinoma (7.5%), retinoblastoma (7.5%), nasopharyngeal carcinoma (10.5%), papillary carcinoma (10.5%), squamous cell carcinoma (15.0%) and NHL (16.4%). The peak age group for carcinoma, lymphoma, blastoma and sarcoma were the 6th, 7th, 1st and 4th decades of life respectively.

Conclusion: HNCs are relatively common with more male sufferers. They are mostly carcinomas, most commonly in salivary glands with Squamous cell cancer being the most common histological type. There is need for policy makers and hospital management to prioritize HNC prevention and management.

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