Cancer in Libya–a retrospective study (1981-1985).

Original article


Akhtar SS, Abu Bakr MA, Dawi SA, Huq IU.

Department of Oncology, Al-Fateh University, Tripoli, Libya.

Afr J Med Med Sci. 1993 Mar;22(1):17-24.


Between 1981 and 1985, 1124 patients with histopathologically confirmed malignant disease were registered at the sole oncology clinic of Libya, 664 (59%) were males and 460 (41%) were females. Overall, malignant lymphoma (ML) was the most common cancer (180/1124, 16%), with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma (NHL) being more common (57.2%) than Hodgkin’s disease (HD) (42.8%). Considered separately, lung cancer was the most common tumour (22.4%) in males with a male to female ratio among the highest in the world (18.6:1), 85% of our male patients were smokers and more than 50% had been smoking heavily for 20 years or more. Breast cancer was the most frequent tumour (29.8%) of females and the majority of our patients were of a younger age group (72.3% below 50 years). Almost all our patients were multiparous and had breast-fed their babies. Cancer of the cervix uteri was less frequent (4.5%) than ovarian cancer (7.8%). The incidence of colorectal cancer was higher (4.6%) than other African countries. Contrarily the primary tumours of liver (1.9%) and bladder (0.5%) were less frequent. Among the children, aged less than 10 years, the common solid tumours of childhood occurred in the following frequency, ML 31.2%, nervous system 19.2%, Wilm’s tumour 16.8% and bone tumours 9.6%.

Keywords: Cancer in Libya–a retrospective study (1981-1985).