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J Trop Med Hyg. 1987 Aug;90(4):181-7.

Cancer in southern Ethiopia.

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Sidamo Regional Hospital, Yirga Alem, Ethiopia.


A retrospective study of biopsies taken at three hospitals in Southern Ethiopia has been carried out to describe the cancer pattern in the Sidamo and Gamu Gofa regions. A histologically verified cancer diagnosis was recorded in 1154 patients. The bias that appear in the data are discussed. This includes aspects of hospital coverage, age and sex distribution and bias that arise from a lack of diagnostic facilities, especially to diagnose deep seated tumours. Taking these bias into consideration, the cancer pattern in Southern Ethiopia is outlined. Among men, hepatic carcinoma, lymphomas and superficial malignancies (skin cancers including melanomas and superficial soft tissue sarcomas) are the most common malignancies while among women, cervical, breast and ovarian cancers predominate. It is noted that most of the Kaposi's sarcomas recorded are from the Sidamo area. Hodgkin's disease and Burkitt's lymphoma are most common among childhood lymphomas, whereas non-Hodgkin lymphomas of other types dominate among adults. Cancer of the stomach is the second most common internal malignancy among both men and women.

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