A Clinicopathologic Review of Oesophageal Carcinoma in Lagos

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Abdulkareem, FB
Onyekwere, C A
Awolola, N A
Banjo, A A F
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Nigerian Quarterly Journal of Medicine
Background: Oesophageal cancer is the 6th most common cause of cancer death world wide. While the incidence is low in some parts of Africa such as Nigeria accounting for 0.4-0.6% of all malignant tumours, it is endemic in Transkei, in South Africa, which is regarded as an epicentre of the disease in Africa. Objective: To document the age and sex distribution, clinical as well as histopathological characteristics of oesophageal carcinoma in Lagos, SW Nigeria, Methods: The paraffin embedded blocks and slides as well as pathology reports of oesophageal carcinoma collected between 1995 and 2007 from Morbid Anatomy Department of the Lagos University Teaching Hospital and between 2002 and 2007 from two private histopathology laboratories in Lagos State were reviewed. The clinical data such as the age, sex, and clinical summary were extracted from demographic information in patients' case file. Results: Twenty cases representing 2.8% of all gastrointestinal tumours were recorded. The mean age was 65.4 years (SD-12.3) with M:F ratio of 1:1. Squamous cell carcinoma predominated; 18 cases (90%); the remaining two cases (one of which showed evidence of Barrett's oesophagus) were adenocarcinoma (10%). All presented at advanced stage with dysphagia and weight loss with or without vomiting, regurgitation, and/or haematamesis. Two third had mid oesophageal fungating masses, the remaining were located in the lower third. Two cases had surgery, the rest were not fit for any intervention. Conclusion: Oesophageal cancer is not common in Lagos, Nigeria, majority are squamous cell carcinoma. Late presentation gives it a dismal outlook. Although the overall survival is poor, efforts at improving quality of life by palliative measures should be encouraged.
Nig Q J Hosp Med . Apr-Jun 2008;18(2):53-6. doi: 10.4314/nqjhm.v18i2.44979.