Cancer incidence in the Niger delta region of Nigeria; a population based review of Port Harcourt cancer registry


  • Obiorah Chinedu Christopher University of Port Harcourt teaching hospital
  • Babatope B Osagbemiro Department of Preventive Dentistry, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.
  • Nwadiuto A Akani Paediatric Oncology Unit, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria.



Words, Cancer, Registry, Population, Port Harcourt, River State.


Background: Cancer poses growing threat to public health in Nigeria.

Aim: To present the first population based cancer incidence data in the two most populous local government areas of Rivers state.

Methodology: Ten years review of Port Harcourt cancer registry data. 

Results: Of the 2,682 cancers recorded, 1,191 (44.4%) were males and 1,491 (55.6%) were females. The age range and mean (SD) for males and females together were 1 - 125 years and 51.9 (17.7) respectively.  The mean (SD) and peak ages for males were 57.6 (19.1) and 70 - 74 years, while for females, they were 47.3 (15) and 40 - 44 years. While 73% of patients less than 45 years were females, 54.5% of those older than 45 years were males. The age standardized incidence rates/100,000 (ASR) ranged between 28 in 2014 and 101.5 in 2017 with a mean of 52.5.

The five commonest cancer sites were - breast - (29%), prostate (25.2%), cervix - (6.6%), colorectal - (5.4%) and blood (leukaemia) - (4.3%).  The bases of diagnoses were: Histology: (71.7%), cytology: (21.2%) clinical impression: (5.3%), autopsy/death certificate review finding: (1.8%).

Conclusion: Cancer incidence is increasing in our locality without commensurate efforts at controlling it.  More females who present with lower mean and peak ages are involved compared to males. Breast and prostate are by far the commonest cancer sites observed. Government and donor agencies should support cancer registration efforts in order to optimize generation of quality population-based data that is necessary for cancer control.


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How to Cite

Christopher, O. C., Osagbemiro, B. B., & Akani , N. A. (2020). Cancer incidence in the Niger delta region of Nigeria; a population based review of Port Harcourt cancer registry. The Nigerian Health Journal, 19(2), 85–95.

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