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Introduction: Though childhood cancers are often amenable to cure even with simple and safe protocols, survival rate is still very low in many low- and middle-income countries where nearly 80% of children with cancer reside.
Objective: To ascertain the pattern and outcome of treatment of childhood cancers in a tertiary centre in southern Nigeria.
Methodology: All cases of childhood cancer admitted into the Paediatric Oncology unit of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital from January 2011 to November 2019 were reviewed. Their demographics, diagnosis, treatment modalities and outcomes were analyzed using SPSS version 25.0.
Results: A total of 266 cases were analysed: 151(56.8%) males and 115(43.2%) females, with M:F ratio of 1.3:1, aged 1 month to 14 years. Majority (44.7%) were in the 1-4 years age bracket. The majority of children who presented more than 20 weeks after onset of symptoms had retinoblastoma. The most common cancers were acute leukaemias (23%), nephroblastoma (22.1%) and rhabdomyosarcoma (11.6%). Many subjects abandoned treatment (44.4%), and mortality was recorded in 45.1% of the study population.
Conclusion: The distribution of the childhood cancers in this study is similar with report of the population based Port Harcourt Cancer Registry, with acute leukaemias, nephroblastoma and rhabdomyosarcoma as most common malignancies encountered. Rates of abandonment of treatment and mortality were high.
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