Paediatric head and neck cancers in Nigeria: Implications for treatment planning in resource limited settings

  • Adisa O Akinyele
  • Agaku T Israel
  • EEU Akang


Background: The head and neck (H/N) is a common site for childhood cancers. This study examined all cases of H/N childhood cancers diagnosed in a major teaching hospital in Nigeria over 18 years to determine patterns of broad lineage cancer groups. Materials and Methods: Primary pediatric childhood malignancies diagnosed between 1990 and 2008 were analysed. Logistic regression models were fitted to determine significant clinical correlates of childhood cancer. Results: Lymphomas were the commonest cancers (49.5%). After controlling for site and age, there was no significant difference in the incidence of Burkitt’s lymphoma (BL) by sex (P=0.423). The jaw bones (mandible and maxilla) were the commonest sites in the H/N for involvement of BL, with over 20 times the odds of occurrence when compared to other non‑jaw sites of the H/N region (Adjusted Odds Ratio [AOR]=21.41, P < 0.001). Among the jaw bones, there was no significant difference in the occurrence of BL (P=0.860). Conclusion: Lymphomas are the commonest cancer group among children in Nigeria. In resource limited settings where diagnoses depend majorly on clinical intuition, an awareness of predictors of a disease can shorten the time spent on arriving at a working diagnosis and guide the immediate choice of investigations and treatment.

Keywords: Cancer, children, lymphoma, Nigeria

Nigerian Medical Journal | Vol. 53 | Issue 4 | October-December | 2012

Author Biographies

Adisa O Akinyele
Department of Oral Pathology, University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria
Agaku T Israel
Department of Society, Human Development and Health, Center for Global Tobacco Control, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA, USA
EEU Akang
Department of Pathology, University College Hospital Ibadan, Nigeria

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2229-774X
print ISSN: 0300-1652