Original Research

Burkitt lymphoma: Trends in children below 15 years reveal priority areas for early diagnosis activities in north-west Cameroon

Glenn M. Afungchwi, Peter B. Hesseling, Paul Achu, Richard Bardin, Francine Kouya
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 3 | a55 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v3i0.55 | © 2019 Glenn Mbah Afungchwi | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 23 September 2018 | Published: 18 February 2019

About the author(s)

Glenn M. Afungchwi, Department of Paediatrics, Banso Baptist Hospital, Cameroon
Peter B. Hesseling, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Stellenbosch University, South Africa; and, Department of Paediatrics and Child Health, Tygerberg Hospital, South Africa
Paul Achu, Mezam Polyclinic, Bamenda, Cameroon
Richard Bardin, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Bamenda, Cameroon
Francine Kouya, Mbingo Baptist Hospital, Bamenda, Cameroon


Background: Burkitt lymphoma is one of the most common childhood cancers in Cameroon. Incidence rates of 5.9/100 000 and 2.58 per 100 000 have been reported in two studies in 2005 and 2012 amongst children below 15 years in the North-West Region.

Aim: This study seeks to examine how Burkitt lymphoma incidence has varied between the various health districts of north-west Cameroon from 2003 to 2015.

Setting: North-West region of Cameroon.

Method: Ethics approval was obtained from the relevant university and Health Services Institutional Review Board. Population data was obtained from the regional delegation of public health. The Paediatric Oncology Networked Database registry from two hospitals and two pathology-based registries were reviewed for cases per year from the various districts. Age-standardised incidence rates were computed for all districts by year using the World Health Organizaion world standard populations.

Results: A total of 317 cases were registered. Overall age-standardised incidence rate was 3.07 per 100 000. Annual incidence ranged from 0.09 in 2003 to 6.12 in 2010. The districts with the highest incidence rates for the entire study period include Nwa with 10.54; Ndop with 5.63; Benakuma with 5.48; Ako with 4.97; and Nkambe with 4.73.

Conclusion: Clustering of Burkitt lymphoma is seen in the region, with the highest incidence in Nwa, Ndop, Benakuma, Ako and Nkambe. These districts should be prioritised for awareness creation campaigns. There is need for a population-based childhood cancer registry in the region, which will use both active and passive surveillance methods to record all childhood cancer cases.


Burkitt lymphoma; incidence; Cameroon


Total abstract views: 3149
Total article views: 4122


Crossref Citations

1. Two decades of childhood cancer care in Cameroon: 2000–2020
Glenn Mbah Afungchwi, Mariana Kruger, Francine Kouya, Pius Tih, Peter McCormick, Angele‐Hermine Pondy‐Ongotsoyi, Peter B. Hesseling
Pediatric Blood & Cancer  vol: 68  issue: 7  year: 2021  
doi: 10.1002/pbc.28997