Lung Cancer in Central Tunisia: Epidemiology and Clinicopathological Features


Lung cancer is the most common cancer worldwide but data from Tunisia are limited. The aim of this research was to describe the epidemiology, pathology and clinical features of lung cancer in Central Tunisia. All lung cancer cases diagnosed during a 15-year period were analyzed based on the data of the Cancer Registry of the Center of Tunisia. Five-year age-specific rates, world age-standardized rates (ASR), and annual percent change were calculated using annual data on population size and the estimated age structure. A total of 1,882 incident cases of lung cancer were registered (1,782 males, 100 females). The median age at diagnosis was 64 years for males and 61 years for females, with ASRs of 35.2 per 100,000 among males and 1.5 among females. Over time, there were significant decreasing trends by -6.5% (95% CI: -12.9%; -0.2%) for females and a stable incidence for males at an annual rate of +0.2% (95% CI: -1.6%; +1.8%). The predominant histological type was squamous cell carcinoma in males (36.9%) and adenocarcinoma in females (52%). During 2003-2007, adenocarcinoma became the most frequent (33.7%) followed by squamous cell carcinoma (30.3%) in males. The majority of tumor cases were diagnosed at advanced stages (79.9%). In conclusion, lung cancer has remained the most common cancer diagnosed at advanced stages among Tunisian men. Our findings justify the need to plan and develop effective programs aiming at the control and prevention of the spread of lung cancer in Tunisia.