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Pattern of childhood and adolescent malignancies at a tertiary health institution in South-east Nigeria : A ten year study

EC Okocha
JC Aneke
TO Ulasi
CE Ezeudu
EO Umeh
UR Ebubedike
CO Ukah
ME Onwukamuche
DC Anyiam
IV Onyiaorah
CO Ndukwe
JO Ugwu
OH Ekwunife


Background: Cancer remains a major cause of death in children and adolescents, and differs in adults in nature, distribution and prognosis1. A culture of case documentation is lacking in our environment and many cases go unreported.
Study objectives: To document the pattern of childhood and adolescent malignancies at a tertiary health institution in south-east Nigeria over a ten year period (January 2004 to December 2013)
Methodology: Details of all children and adolescents aged 18 years and below treated for malignancy were extracted from the cancer registry and the records unit of the histopathology department for the period beginning at January 2004 to December 2013 at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Nigeria. Information retrieved was verified against the hospital admission register, as well as the medical and histopathology records for all cancer patients over the period of interest.
Results: Eighty-five cases of childhood and adolescent malignancy were treated at NAUTH, Nnewi between January 2004 and December 2013. Median age of the study population was 9years, with a range of 0.1– 18years, more males (56.50%) than females (43.50%). Commonest tumours were the Lymphomas (11.76%) comprising Non- Hodgkin’s lymphoma (80%), Hodgkin’s lymphoma (10%) and Large-cell lymphoma (10%), the Leukaemias (11.76%) comprising Acute myeloblastic leukaemia (80%) and Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (20%). Others were Rhabdomyosarcoma (11.76%), Nephroblastoma (11.76%), Retinoblastoma (5.88%), Ovarian tumours (4.71%), the Soft tissue sarcomas-excluding rhabdomyosarcoma (3.53%) and Osteogenic sarcoma (3.35%)’.
Conclusion: Study findings suggest that lymphoma, leukaemia, rhabdomyosarcoma and nephroblastoma are the commonest childhood and adolescent malignancies in south-east Nigeria.

Keywords: Childhood, Adolescent, Malignancy