Pattern of head and neck cancers among patients attending Muhimbili National Hospital Tanzania

Type Journal Article - Tanzania Journal of Health Research
Title Pattern of head and neck cancers among patients attending Muhimbili National Hospital Tanzania
Volume 17
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2015
Background: It is estimated that there are more than 640,000 new cases and 350,000 deaths due to head
and neck cancers (HNCA) each year worldwide. Lack of baseline data in Tanzania concerning head and
neck malignancies makes it difficult to appreciate the pattern and magnitude of the problem in the
country. The objective of this study was to determine the pattern of head and neck cancers among
patients attending the Otorhinolaryngology Department at the Muhimbili National Hospital in Dar es
Salaam, Tanzania. Methods: All inpatients and outpatients with histologically proven malignant lesions in the head and neck
region who attended the Otorhinolaryngology department of Muhimbili National Hospital between 1 st July 2012 and 31st January 2013 were enrolled in the study. A special designed questionnaire was used for
data collection. Clinical examination, computed tomography scan and/or magnetic resonance image were
done accordingly, followed by fine needle aspiration cytology and/or tissue biopsy.
Results: A total of 113 patients, 75 (66.3%) males and 38 (33.7.0%) females with a male to female ratio 2:1
were involved in the study. The mean age at the time of diagnosis was 51±18. Patients below age of 40
years accounted for 28.4% of all head and neck cancer patients. The commonest observed anatomical
location was nasal and paranasal sinuses (23.9%) followed by the larynx (20%). Carcinoma accounted for
94% of head and neck cancers in which squamous cell carcinoma was the most frequent (74%). Lymphoma
(2%) was the least frequent histological variant encountered. Nasal and paranasal sinuses had the most
histological variations of all anatomical locations of head and neck cancer.
Conclusion: This study shows a significant number of head and neck cancer patients in a younger
generation and a high magnitude of sinonasal cancer relative to other head and neck cancer.

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