Epidemiology of Nasopharyngeal Carcinoma in Sarawak, East Malaysia

Document Type : Research Articles


Sarawak State Health Department, Ministry of Health Malaysia, Sarawak, Malaysia.


Objectives: This analysis provides an epidemiological update for nasopharyngeal carcinomas the state of Sarawak and an analysis of the trend over a 20 years period. Method: Data between 1996 to 2015 from a population-based cancer registry in Sarawak Malaysia was analyzed. Crude incidence rates and age-standardized rates (ASR) were calculated and compared between ethnic groups and locations (administrative division) and Joinpoint regression analysis was done to analyze trends. Result: A total of 3643 cases of NPC were recorded with male to female ratio of 2.5:1. Annualised age-standardized incidence rates able 2) for men is 13.2 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI: 12.6, 13.7) and for women is 5.3 cases per 100,000 population (95% CI: 5.0, 5.6). The highest incidence rates were reported among the Bidayuh population and it ranks among the highest in the world. Trend analysis noted an overall reduction of cases, with a significant decrease between 1996 and 2003 (annual percentage reduction of incidence by 3.9%). Analysis of individual ethnic groups also shows a general reduction with exception of Iban males showing an average 5.48 per cent case increase between 2009 to 2015, though not statistically significant. Conclusion: Comparing the incidences with other registries, the Bidayuh population in Sarawak remained among the highest in the world and warrants close attention for early screening and prevention strategies.


Main Subjects

Volume 24, Issue 8
August 2023
Pages 2817-2822
  • Receive Date: 10 April 2023
  • Revise Date: 03 July 2023
  • Accept Date: 23 August 2023
  • First Publish Date: 23 August 2023