Epidemiology and Histopathological Spectrum of Head and Neck Cancers in Bihar, a State of Eastern India

  • Siddiqui, Md. Salahuddin (Faculty of Medicine, Patna Medical College) ;
  • Chandra, Rajeev (Otorhinolaryngology, ANM Medical College) ;
  • Aziz, Abdul (Pathlogy, Nalanda Medical College) ;
  • Suman, Saurav (School of Public Health, University of Texas(Houston))
  • Published : 2012.08.31


Head and neck cancers are amongst the commonest malignancies, accounting for approximately 20% of the cancer burden in India. The major risk factors are tobacco chewing, smoking and alcohol consumption, which are all preventable. This retrospective study presents data from the histopathology register for a five year period from 2002-2006 at Patna Medical College and Hospital, a tertiary care hospital drawing patients from the entire Bihar state, the 3rd most populous state of India with the majority of the population residing in rural areas. Incidence rates based on sex, age, site of lesion, including age standardized incidence rates for males and females, with mean age of presentation, distribution of histological variants and year wise trend were calculated. Out of 455 head and neck neoplasias, 241 were benign while 214 were malignant. The most common age group for all malignant biopsies was 7th decade for males and the 5th decade for females. Malignant cases were commoner in males than females with the male:female ratio of 3.1:1, which was found to be statistically significant by the chi-square (${\chi}^2$) test. The crude rate and age standardized incidence rate was 0.05 and 0.06 per 100,000 population respectively. Squamous cell carcinoma (SCC) contributed about 96% of all cases, with grade I being the most common. Larynx was the most common site for malignancy, the supraglottic region being its most commonly affected sub-site. This observed incidence patterns in the region are a reminder of widespread unawareness, low healthcare utilization with virtually non-existent cancer programs. It also underlines the need to advocate for reliable cost-effective programs to create awareness, for early detection and plan appropriate management strategies. There is a compelling demand for a cancer registry in this region as well as proper implementation of preventive measures to combat this growing threat of cancer, many of whose risk factors are preventable.


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