Childhood cancer in Aden, Yemen

Type Journal Article - Cancer epidemiology
Title Childhood cancer in Aden, Yemen
Volume 37
Issue 6
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2013
Page numbers 803-806
Background: Cancer in children is increasingly recognized as a major and growing health problem in
different developed and developing countries. In Yemen, it is still difficult to know the extent of cancer
and its determinants among children. This study was conducted to determine the magnitude of
childhood cancer in Aden and provide the preliminary baseline data by age and sex.
Methods: Basic epidemiologic data was retrieved from all paediatric cancer <15 years age registered in
Aden Caner Registry (ACR), Yemen, from 1997 to 2006.
Results: The results showed a total of 483 childhood cancers <15 years age comprising12.7% of all
registered malignancies with a male to female ratio of 1.5:1. The predominant age affected was 5–9 years
in (38.3%) children. The most frequent cancer among Yemeni children was leukaemia 160 (33.1%)
followed by lymphoma 152 (31.5%), CNS tumors 35 (7.2%) and bone tumours 25 (5.2%). An interesting
and unusual finding was the frequency of acute myeloid leukaemia twice more common in female
(66.7%) than male (33.3%). Lymphoma was the most common cancer in children >5 years. An interesting
comparison was the preponderance of non-Hodgkins’s lymphoma over Hodgkin’s disease (1.6:1)
stronger in female (3:1) than male (1.25:1). Medulloblastoma was the most common CNS tumour
followed by astrocytoma, an infrequent finding in childhood cancer. Osteosarcoma was the most
frequent bone tumour (male:female ratio of 1.8:1). A female preponderance was noticed in
chondrosarcoma that was not yet documented. The blastoma group was common in younger age
group. Retinoblastoma and nephroblastoma predominated in female while neuroblastoma, hepatoblastoma
and soft tissue sarcomas in male.
Conclusion: It is concluded that there is a lower frequency of childhood cancer in Aden when compared
with developed countries. It may explained by the fact that a large number of childhood cancers remain
undiagnosed due to limitations of diagnostic facilities or under registration. Central paediatric hospitals
should be provided with essential diagnostic and therapeutic services that should be freely available to
all children with cancer.

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