New data tells us more about cancer incidence in North Africa.

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Zanetti R, Tazi MA, Rosso S.

Piedmont Cancer Registry, CPO, Centre for Cancer Prevention, Torino, Italy.

Eur J Cancer. 2010 Feb;46(3):462-6.


Over the last few years, Cancer Registries in North Africa (Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya and Egypt) increased in number from one to nine, and now covers 13% of the total regional population. Their data can be considered of good or acceptable quality, according to available indicators. The pattern of risk shown by these Registries is quite unique. The total cancer burden in the North African countries is between one third and one half of what is observed in Europe. The overall incidence rate in men (world age standardised, per 100,000) ranges from 86.3 in Sétif, Algeria, to 156.1 in Garbiah, Egypt. The range is similar in women: from 80.3 in Sétif to 164.0 in Algier, both in Algeria. The case mix and the level of rates are quite homogeneous in the countries considered. The most frequent cancers are the same as in Europe (Lung, Breast and Prostate). This pattern completely differs from that of Central and Southern African countries, where infection-related cancers are predominant. The well-known excess risk for nasopharyngeal carcinoma in this area is confirmed, with rates reaching the level of 5.4 in men and 1.9 in women, which is 10 times higher than that in Europe.

Keywords: Cancer incidence, North Africa