Incidence of Cancer in Basrah: Results of a Household Survey

  • Hussain, Riyadh Abdul-Ameer (Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine University of Basrah) ;
  • Habib, Omran S. (Department of Community Medicine, College of Medicine University of Basrah)
  • Published : 2015.02.04


Background: Cancer is a major health problem at global level. It is increasingly registered in Iraq and Basrah but the epidemiological situation, though becoming better documented, is still questionable regarding the adequacy of data. Objective: The study aimed to measure the incidence of cancer in Basrah. Materials and Methods: The results presented in this paper are part of a large household survey carried out in Basrah governorate-southern Iraq over a 12 month period (January to December 2013). It involved a detailed interview with adult respondents from each and every household enrolled in the study during a three-year recall period about the incidence of cancer. A total of 6,999 households were covered yielding 40,684 persons. Results: The total number of new cancer cases reported over the three- year recall period (2010-2012) was 112. The average annual incidence rate of all cancers was 91.8 per 100,000 population with a higher rate for females (109.7) compared to males (74.3) The overall age standardized rate was 150.7 per 100,000. The highest incidence rate was recorded for the Southern part of the governorate (Abul-Khasib and Fao ) at 138.8 per 100,000 and the lowest was for East of Basrah (Shatt-Arab District) at 78.0 per 100,000. With respect to cancer types, the main cancers were those of breast, lung, larynx-pharynx, leukaemia, colon-rectum and urinary bladder. These six cancers accounted for 51.5% of all reported cases. Other important cancers were those of brain, bones, pancreas and liver, accounting for a further 17.9%. Conclusions: The pattern of cancer in Basrah is generally similar to the pattern at the national level in terms of age, sex and topography but the incidence rate according to the present household survey is higher than any previously reported figures. Household surveys for cancer seem feasible albeit difficult and costly.


  1. BCRG (2010). Cancer in Basrah: epidemiological analysis of incident cancer 2005-2008. Basrah Cancer Research Group. Dar AlKutub for Press and Publication, Basrah 2010.
  2. Fashal MS, Habib OS, Abdul-Aziz T (2012). A comparative study on cancer in two areas in Samawa city. A confidential Report prepared for the Iraqi Cancer Board and Al-Muthanna Governorate Health Directorate General.
  3. Fathallah RM, Dajani R (2013). Comparison of population based cancer incidence rates among Circassians, Chechans and Arabs in Jordan (1996-2005). Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 14, 6035-40.
  4. Ferlay J, Soerjomataram I, Ervik M, Dikshit R, Eser S, Mathers C et al (2013). GLOBOCAN 2012, Cancer Incidence and Mortality Worldwide: IARC CancerBase No. 11 [Internet]. Lyon, France: International Agency for Research on Cancer. Available from:, accessed on July 18, 2014.
  5. Habib OS, Al-Ali JK, Al-Wiswasi MK, et al (2007). Cancer Registration in Basrah 2005: Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 8, 187-90.
  6. Habib OS, Al-Diab JMA, Mohsin A, et al (2010). Experience and outcome of population-based cancer registration in Basrah-Southern Iraq in four years (2005-2008). Asian Pac J Cancer Prev, 11, 51-4.
  7. Habib OS, Al-Ali JK (2012). Cancer in Basrah 2005-2011: Characteristics of person, place and time. Report of limited circulation submitted to the Ministry of Health, Iraq, 2012.
  8. Hagopian A, Lafta R, Hassan J, et al(2010). Trends in childhood leukemia in Basrah, Iraq 1993-2007. Am J Public Health, 100, 1081-7
  9. Husain HY, Al-Alwacahi SF (2014). Incidence rates, rattern and time trends of registered cancer in Iraq (1991-2008):Population and Hospital Based Registry. OALib, 2014, 1, 1-6, Published Online February 2014 in OALib. Accessed April 15, 2014.
  10. Iraqi Cancer Board (2010). Cancer Registry of Iraq 2009. Ministry of Health, Peoples Medical Clinics Press, Baghdad 2010.
  11. Jemal A, Bray F, Center MM, Ferlay J, Ward E , Forman D (2011). Global cancer statistics . CA Cancer J Clin, 61, 69-90.
  12. Murray SA, Grant E (2003). Dying from cancer in developed and developing countries: lessons from two qualitative interview studies of patients and their carers. BMJ, 326, 368.