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Epidemiology of diagnosed childhood cancer in western kenya
  1. Saskia Mostert1,
  2. Festus Njuguna2,
  3. Luc Kemps1,
  4. Matthew Strother3,
  5. Louise Aluoch2,
  6. Gyabi Buziba4,
  7. Gertjan Kaspers1
  1. 1Department of Paediatric Oncology-Haematology and Doctor 2 Doctor Program, VU University Medical Centre, Amsterdam, The Netherlands
  2. 2Department of Paediatrics, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, Kenya
  3. 3Department of Haematology-Oncology and USAID-Academic Model Providing Access to Healthcare (AMPATH) Program, Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA
  4. 4Department of Pathology, Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital, Eldoret, Kenya
  1. Correspondence to Saskia Mostert, Department of Paediatric Oncology-Haematology and Doctor 2 Doctor Program, VU University Medical Centre, De Boelelaan 1117, Amsterdam, 1081 HV, The Netherlands; s.mostert{at}vumc.nl

Abstract

Setting Basic epidemiological information on childhood cancer in Western Kenya is lacking. This deficit obstructs efforts to improve the care and survival rates of children in this part of the world.

Objective Our study provides an overview of childhood cancer patients presenting for treatment in Western Kenya.

Design A retrospective analysis of childhood cancer patients presenting for treatment in Western Kenya was carried out using information from three separate databases at the Moi Teaching and Referral Hospital in Eldoret. All patients aged 0–19 years first presenting between January 2006 and January 2010 with a newly diagnosed malignancy were included.

Results A total of 436 children with cancer were registered during the period. There were 256 (59%) boys and 180 (41%) girls with a male/female ratio of 1.4:1. The group aged 6–10 years contained most children (29%). Median age at admission was 8 years. Non-Hodgkin's lymphoma was the most common type of cancer (34%), followed by acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (15%), Hodgkin's lymphoma (8%), nephroblastoma (8%), rhabdomyosarcoma (7%), retinoblastoma (5%) and Kaposi's sarcoma (5%). Only four (1%) children with brain tumours were documented. Ewing's sarcoma was not diagnosed.

Conclusions Our study provides an overview of childhood cancer patients presenting for treatment in Western Kenya. The distribution of malignancies is similar to findings from other equatorial African countries but differs markedly from studies in high-income countries. The new comprehensive cancer registration system will be continued and extended to serve as the basis for an evidence-based oncology program. Eventually this may lead to improved clinical outcomes.

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Footnotes

  • Competing interests None.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.

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