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Cancer incidence in Blantyre, Malawi 1994–1998

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In this paper, we report the first results from the population-based cancer registry for Blantyre district, Malawi, for the period 1994–1998. In this 5-year period, 1245 cases were recorded in males (an estimated age-standardized incidence of 92.0 per 100,000) and 1003 in females (an age standardised rate (ASR) of 88.8 per 105). The overall percentage of cases with histological verification was just 41.8%, indicating that case-finding outside the laboratory had been quite successful; nevertheless the rather low rates suggest possible underdiagnosis of cancer, as well as cases missed. As in other reports from the region, the contemporary pattern is dominated by Kaposi’s sarcoma (KS) (55.2% cancers in men, 28% in women), the effect of the evolving epidemic of AIDS. The incidence of cervix cancer in women is high (ASR 26.2 per 105), and there are moderately high rates of oesophageal cancer (ASR 15.4 per 105 in men, 9.3 per 105 in women). In childhood, the cancer profile is dominated by Burkitt’s lymphoma, which accounts for 42.4% of cancers; KS is now the second most frequent cancer of childhood.

Keywords: AIDS; Kaposi sarcoma; Malawi; cancer; oesophageal cancer; registry

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2001


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