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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 16  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 505-510

Pattern of cancer deaths in the medical wards of a teaching hospital in South East Nigeria

Department of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla, Enugu, Nigeria

Correspondence Address:
E B Arodiwe
Department of Medicine, University of Nigeria, Teaching Hospital, Ituku/Ozalla
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/1119-3077.116901

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Background: Cancers are emerging public health problems in developing countries like Nigeria. The epidemiological shift and aging population make cancers a challenge. Objective: We set out to describe the pattern of death due to cancer in our medical ward. The hospital is one of the premier hospitals covering the South East zone of Nigeria. Materials and Methods: We retrospectively reviewed the case notes and death certificates of all who died of cancer in our adult medical wards for 16 years (January 1995 to December 2010). Statistical Analysis Used: Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS Inc. Chicago, IL) version 17.0 was used. Results: Twenty seven thousand, five hundred and fourteen patients were admitted into the medical wards. Six thousand, two hundred and fifty died. Out of the 6250 deaths, cancers accounted for 7.6%. Male to Female ratio was 2.4:1. The mean age at death was 43.7 ± 17.4 years. The mean age at death in both sexes was similar (42.9 ± 17.5 for men and 45.7 ± 17.0 years for women), P = 0.109. Primary liver cell carcinoma was the most common cause of death among men (40.8%), while cancer of hematopoietic organ was the most common in women (48.7%). The overall fatality rate was 1.7% (477/27 514) of medical admissions. Younger and middle age groups were most commonly affected in both sexes. Conclusion: Since the most productive age groups were affected, governments in developing countries should as a matter of urgency put in place adequate cancer preventive and curative services.

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