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Background: Occurrence of Orofacial malignancies (OFM) is a major global public health issue, being the sixth most common cancer in the world with 500,000 new incidences per year. The pattern of distribution among patients in the younger age groups needs to be explored and compared with the pattern of distribution among patients in older age groups.
Materials and methods: Over an 11 year period, clinical and histologic information on OFM cases were retrieved. Data collected and analyzed with SPSS Statistics version 20 were presented as frequency tables, charts and proportions. A confidence interval of 95% was assumed and the level of significance was set at p<0.05.
Results: A total of 286 cases were diagnosed as OFM . 66.1% occurred among subjects within the 4th – 7th decades of life. 40% of cases occurred in subjects aged ≤40 years old. There were site and gender predilections for the mandible (25.2%) and male subjects (M: F =1.3:1) respectively. Most common major type was Carcinoma (n=239). Older subjects presented with carcinomas, than with lymphomas (p=0.01).
Squamous Cell Carcinoma [SCC] was the most common type of OFM and Carcinoma. 40.8% of cases occurred in subjects ≤40 years old. There was a general pattern of a male gender predilection (M: F =1.6:1) though in subjects ≤40 years old, the M: F ratio was reversed (M: F= 1:1.23) when compared with subjects >40 years old (M: F= 2.35:1). SCC mostly showed mandible site predilection. However, there was a Maxilla site predilection among young subjects ≤ 40 years old and a Mandibular site predilection among subjects > 40 years old.
Salivary gland carcinoma accounted for 40.2% of OFM with site and gender predilections for the palate and female respectively. Peak age of occurrence was in the 6th and 7th decades of life and Adenocarcinoma (AC) was the most common observed type.
Sarcomas accounted for 11.8% of OFM and showed a mean age of occurrence of 41 ±16years, peak age of occurrence in the 5th decade of life and male gender predilection (M:F = 1.2:1) .
Conclusion: There is an increasing number of cases of OFM especially SCC, in Nigerians. It is plausible that unidentified factors may trigger genetic mutations that predispose to OFM development in this environment hence an urgent need for exploration of molecular landscape that may lead to the development of new molecular markers for qualitative management.
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