Prevalence of Esophageal Cancer in the Northern Part of Afghanistan


Background: Esophagogastroduodenoscopy (EGD) is the standard technique for diagnosis of patientspresenting with upper gastrointestinal symptoms. Some reports have shown high prevalence of esophageal cancerin the northern part of Afghanistan. The aim of this study was to investigate epidemiological profile of esophagealcancer among patients in this region. Materials and
Methods: We identified 364 consecutive patients that receivedEGD examinations to examine upper gastrointestinal tract at the endoscopy unit of Balkh regional Hospitalfrom March 2012 to March 2013. The case subjects included both in-patients and out-patients aged 16 years ormore. We evaluated the results retrospectively.
Results: The cases consisted of 184 (51%) males and 180 (49%)females. The mean age was 47.3±17.8 and the age range 17-88 years. Ninety two cases had esophageal cancer, outof which 58 (63.0%) were male. The mean age at time of diagnosis was 57.8±13.2 years. Uzbek-Turkmen peopleswere more common among patients with esophageal cancer (52.2%). Dysphagia was the most frequent symptomamong patients with esophageal cancer at the time of presentation, seen in 77 (84.8%) of cases.
Conclusions:Our results showed high incidence of esophageal cancer in the northern part of Afghanistan, especially in theUzbek-Turkmen ethnic group.