Incidence of childhood cancer in Namibia: the need for registries in Africa

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INTRODUCTION: Childhood cancer is rare and comprises only 1% of all cancers. The current incidence of childhood cancer in Namibia, as in many other African countries, is not known. The aim of this research was to assess the paediatric cancer incidence between 2003-2010 at Windhoek Central Hospital, the only pediatric oncology-referring centre in Namibia and to compare with the previous calculated incidence in the country 20 years ago. METHODS: A retrospective, descriptive review of the paediatric oncology cases presenting to Windhoek Central Hospital between 2003 and 2010 was undertaken, and data regarding age, sex, cancer type, area of residence were extrapolated. In this study due to the appearance of the HIV epidemic, an HIV incidence was also calculated. RESULTS: The incidence rate of all paediatric recorded cancers was 29.4 per million. Leukaemias (22.5%) and retinoblastomas (16.2%) were the most common tumours, with renal tumours, soft tissue sarcomas and lymphomas following in frequency. HIV incidence of children with malignancy was 6.8%. CONCLUSION: The incidence rates of cancers in this study are remarkably lower compared to a similar study done in the country 20 years ago. Many cancers are still not diagnosed or reported, and others are not treated in the country. The institution of a "twinning programme" between the paediatric haematological/oncological departments in Windhoek and Tygerberg Hospital in Cape Town, South Africa, will contribute to improvement of childhood cancer cases. This twinning programme includes the formation of a cancer registry.




Stefan, D. C. ristina, Baadjes, B., & Kruger, M. (2014). Incidence of childhood cancer in Namibia: the need for registries in Africa. The Pan African Medical Journal, 17, 191.

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