The Pattern of Urological Cancers in Zambia

  • K Bowa
  • JS Kachimba
  • MA Labib
  • V Mudenda
  • M Chikwenya
Keywords: urological cancers, Zambia


Objective: To examine the pattern of urological malignancies, particularly cancer of the bladder, seen at the University Teaching Hospital (UTH) in Lusaka and to compare the findings with previous studies on the same parameters done at UTH. Material and Methods: A retrospective study of urological cancers in Zambia was performed, based on histopathology reports of specimens reviewed at the UTH Pathology Laboratory in
Lusaka, Zambia, between January 1990 and December 2005. The parameters studied were the histological type of the cancer, patient age and trends over a 15-year period. Results: In total, 8829 cancers were diagnosed during the study period, of which 749 (8.5%) were urological malignancies affecting the kidney, bladder, prostate, testis or penis. The maleto- female ratio of the urological cancers was 10.7 to 1. Cancer of the prostate was the most common urological malignancy (54.6%), followed by bladder cancer (21.1%) and penile cancer (18.6%). The histological type of bladder cancer was mainly squamous cell carcinoma (46.2%), transitional cell carcinoma (23.4%) and adenocarcinoma (22.2%); other types (8.2%) included rhabdomyosarcoma, small cell carcinoma and lymphoma. The majority of patients (79%) with bladder cancer were between 56 and 65 years of age. Whereas 20 years ago prostate cancer comprised only 26% of urological malignancies, it accounted for 55% of urological cancers
diagnosed in Zambia between 1990 and 2005. In contrast, cancer of the penis, kidney and testis have shown no change in frequency distribution compared to 20 years ago. Conclusion:Over the last 15 years there has been an increasing proportion of cancer of the prostate and squamous cell carcinoma of the bladder. This is associated with high levels of schistosomiasis, cystitis (some of which is HIV-related) and bladder stones. It may also be due to the extension of urological services and the diagnostic armamentarium (PSA, cystoscopy and histological
diagnosis) to indigent rural populations, where the incidence of squamous cell carcinoma is likely to be higher than in affluent urban populations.

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eISSN: 1110-5704