Childhood Malignancy in Abakaliki: A Growing Concern

  • Uche Nnebe-Agumadu Department of Paediatrics, College of Health Sciences, Ebonyi State University, Abakaliki
  • Chika Onwasigwe Department of Community Medicine, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus
Keywords: Childhood malignancy, prevalence, outcome of therapy


Aim: To determine (a) the prevalence of malignancies in children in Abakaliki as well as the outcome of therapy. (b) Compare findings with data from other parts of Nigeria
Patients and Methods: A 4-year descriptive retrospective review of childhood malignancies was carried out based on data collected from case notes of patients attending the Paediatrics clinics of Ebonyi State University Teaching Hospital (EBSUTH) and Federal Medical Centre (FMC) Abakaliki.
Results: A total of 38,802 cases were reviewed out of which 53 had various types of malignancies, giving a prevalence rate of 0.14%, with a male to female ratio of 2.1:1. The mean age of patients was 8.14 years with a standard deviation of 3.77 years. This constituted 1.7% of the 3088 Ward admissions. Burkitts lymphoma was the commonest malignancy (60.5%) followed in order of frequency by hepatocellular carcinoma (9.2%) and retinoblastoma (7%). Leukemia, rhabdomyosarcoma and Wilm's tumour had a prevalence of 4.7% each. A review of the Burkitts lymphoma cases showed a male dominance with a male to female ratio of 3:1, though this is not statistically significant. There was a preponderance of abdominal tumours. Most of the patients had chemotherapy but outcome was poor.
Conclusions: Prevalence of childhood malignancies in Abakaliki is high with a high frequency of Burkitt's lymphoma. Outcome of therapy was poor. Late presentation, absence of proper diagnostic machinery, inadequacy of chemotherapy, poverty and ignorance were some of the factors responsible for the poor outcome of the various malignancies
.Key words: Childhood malignancy, prevalence, outcome of therapy.
Journal of College of Medicine Vol.10(1) 2005: 21-25

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eISSN: 1118-2601