Pattern of Primary Gastrointestinal Tract Cancer in the Eastern Part of Libya

Original article


Abdul-Nasser Elzouki; Soad Alkhomsi

Al-Jamhouriya Hospital, Department of Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Garyounis University, Benghazi, Libya

Garyounis Medical Journal Vol. 22, No.2. 2005:24-28


Background/ objective: Cancer of the gastro-intestinal tract (G1T) is a common disease worldwide and it accounts for the largest number of newely diagnosed cancer cases in many countries. The aim of the present study was to determine the pattern of the histologicaly-proven primary GIT cancer in the Eastern part of Libya.
Material and Methods: The registry of the Department of Histopathology, Faculty of Medicine. Garyounis University and that of the Department of Oncology. Al-Jamahiriya Hospital, Benghazi. were reviewed for all cases with primary GIT cancer during the period from 1-1-1996 to 31-12-1998. These Departments were the only available Histopathology Laboratory and Oncology Department in Eastern Libya during the study period. A special form was used, in which the patient name, age, sex, nationality. residence, hospital name. histopathology number, and type of primary GIT cancer were recorded.
Results: A total of 475 cases of primary GIT cancer were diagnosed during the study period. Colorectal carcinoma was the most common malignancy of the GIT in our study; followed by gastric cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma and cancers of the gallbladder. esophagus. pancreas and small intestine in decreasing order of frequency. Of the 475 cases, there were 275 males with a male to female ratio of 1.3 to I. The mean age of the population studied was 46.6 years (range 10-98). Most of the cases seen were in the fifth to seventh decade of life, with the exception of small intestinal carcinoma which occurred among relatively younger age groups. With the exception of the small intestinal cancer, all GIT cancers were increasing in their numbers with age.
Conclusion: The present study has described for the first time the general pattern of GIT cancer in Eastern Libya with features comparable to those seen in high risk populations worldwide. Understanding the epidemiology of GIT cancers in Libya could help determine the priorities for therapeutic programs and research projects.

Keywords: Colorectal cancer, cancer. Primary GIT cancer, Libya, Benghazi