Published online May 28, 2014. doi: 10.3748/wjg.v20.i20.6293
Revised: January 27, 2014
Accepted: February 17, 2014
Published online: May 28, 2014
AIM: To study the pattern of cancer incidence and determine the incidence rates in Eastern Libya (for the first time in a decade).
METHODS: A hospital-based registry of cancer patients was formed using records from the primary oncology center in eastern Libya - focusing on those diagnosed in the year 2012.
RESULTS: The most common malignancies in men were cancers of the colon (22.3%, n = 90), lung (20.3%, n = 82), prostate (16.1%, n = 65), pancreas (4.2%, n = 17) and liver (4.2%, n = 17). For women, they were found to be cancers of the breast (41.5%, n = 213), colon (16.4%, n = 84), uterus (8%, n = 41), ovary (5.5%, n = 28) and pancreas (3.1%, n = 16). Additionally age-standardized rates (ASR) were determined for Libya. The different cities and towns in eastern Libya were compared for any variation. The city of Beida in particular was found to have a remarkably high incidence of gastric cancer. The different findings were discussed and comparisons were made with past literature as well as the incidence rates for neighbouring countries. The incidence rates given for the eastern region showed differences from previously reported values (i.e., the rate of colon cancer was the highest in North Africa whereas other malignancies occurred less frequently). Potential explanations for the urban-rural difference as well as the difference in incidence rates were put forth. The significance of this study is that it establishes a baseline of cancer incidence which should be the backbone for any future national cancer plan in Libya.
CONCLUSION: Proper surveillance programs need to be in place and healthcare policy should be adjusted to take into account the more prevalent and pressing cancers in society.
Core tip: The cancer incidence in Libya has changed greatly since the last time it was determined, nearly a decade ago. The most common cancers are breast, colorectal and lung cancers. Libya has the highest rate of colorectal cancer in North Africa. Late presentation was found to be a major problem in the Libyan case. Clear urban-rural differences were seen when the different districts were analyzed. Different hypotheses were put forth to explain these variations. Proper surveillance programs need to be in place and healthcare policies should be adjusted to take into account the more prevalent and pressing cancers in society.