Childhood orofacial malignancies in Nigerians: a 19 year review in a Teaching Hospital

  • OF Omoregie
  • AP Igbe
  • MA Ojo


Malignant lesions occurring in the orofacial region are of great concern because of the associated high mortality occasioned by late presentation for treatment. This article aimed to determine the incidence and histopathologic patterns of childhood malignant tumours in various orofacial sites in a Nigerian population. A 19-year retrospective review of records and histopathology slides of orofacial malignant lesions in children aged 0 to 14 years was carried out in the Departments of Oral Pathology/Oral Medicine and Morbid Anatomy, University of Benin Teaching Hospital, Benin City, Nigeria. A total of 202 malignant tumours occurred in children under 15 years in the period under review. Among them were 45 (22.5%) cases of malignant orofacial tumours, with a male to female ratio of 1.5:1. Majority of the children were within 5 to 9 years of age (n=21, 46.7%) and the jaw was the commonest site of the lesions (n=34, 75.6%). The tumour types were mostly lymphomas (n=35, 77.8%), with the Burkitt’s type accounting for 26 (57.8%) cases of the lymphomas; followed by sarcomas (n=5, 11.1%) and carcinomas (n=8.9%). Orofacial malignancies constitute about a fifth of the childhood malignant lesions studied, with Burkitt’s lymphoma accounting for more than half of the lesions. There was predilection of the lesions for males and the jaw was the commonest orofacial site. A heightened campaign against poverty, ignorance and infection will have a far reaching impact on the control of these malignant diseases.

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eISSN: 1596-6569