Incidence of Cancer in Basrah: Results of a Household Survey


Background: Cancer is a major health problem at global level. It is increasingly registered in Iraq andBasrah but the epidemiological situation, though becoming better documented, is still questionable regardingthe adequacy of data.
Objective: The study aimed to measure the incidence of cancer in Basrah. Materialsand
Methods: The results presented in this paper are part of a large household survey carried out in Basrahgovernorate-southern Iraq over a 12 month period (January to December 2013). It involved a detailed interviewwith adult respondents from each and every household enrolled in the study during a three-year recall periodabout the incidence of cancer. A total of 6,999 households were covered yielding 40,684 persons.
Results: Thetotal number of new cancer cases reported over the three- year recall period (2010-2012) was 112. The averageannual 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 wasrecorded for the Southern part of the governorate (Abul-Khasib and Fao ) at 138.8 per 100,000 and the lowestwas for East of Basrah (Shatt-Arab District) at 78.0 per 100,000. With respect to cancer types, the main cancerswere those of breast, lung, larynx-pharynx, leukaemia, colon-rectum and urinary bladder. These six cancersaccounted for 51.5% of all reported cases. Other important cancers were those of brain, bones, pancreas andliver, accounting for a further 17.9%.
Conclusions: The pattern of cancer in Basrah is generally similar to thepattern at the national level in terms of age, sex and topography but the incidence rate according to the presenthousehold survey is higher than any previously reported figures. Household surveys for cancer seem feasiblealbeit difficult and costly.