Commonest Cancers in Pakistan - Findings and Histopathological Perspective from a Premier Surgical Pathology Center in Pakistan


Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Histopathology, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi, Pakistan


Context: There are no recent authoritative data about incidence and prevalence of various types of cancers in Pakistan. Aim: To determine the frequency of malignant tumors seen in our practice and provide a foundation for building a comprehensive cancer care strategy. Materials and Methods: 10,000 successive cases of solid malignant tumors reported in 2014 were included. All cases had formalin fixed, paraffin embedded specimens available and diagnosis was based on histological examination of H and E stained slides plus ancillary studies at the Section of Histopathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine, Aga Khan University Hospital, Karachi. The latest WHO classifications were used along with the latest CAP protocols for reporting and the most updated TNM staging. Results: There were 9,492 (94.9%) primary tumors while 508 (5.1%) were metastatic. Some 5,153 (51.5%) were diagnosed in females and 4,847 (48.5%) in males. The commonest malignant tumors in females were breast (32%), esophagus (7%), lymphomas (6.8%), oral cavity (6.7%) and ovary (4.8%), while in males they were oral cavity (13.9%), lymphomas (12.8%), colorectum (7.9%), stomach (6.9%) and esophagus (6.6%). Malignant tumors were most common in the 5th, 6th and 7th decades. About 8% were seen under 20 years of age. Conclusions: Oral cavity and gastrointestinal cancers continue to be extremely common in both genders. Breast and esophageal cancers are prevalent in females. Lung and prostate cancer are less common than in the west. Ovarian cancer was very common but cervix cancer was less so.