Background: Only two reports on nasopharyngeal cancer (NPC) are available from this large centre and both covered the years 1961--1966 and 1966--1980.
Objective: This study describes the update of nasopharyngeal cancer at the Ibadan Cancer Registry from 1981 to 2000.
Method: This is a retrospective review of all histologically confirmed cases of nasopharyngeal cancer accumulated in the Ibadan Cancer Registry from 1981--2000.
Results: Two hundred and twenty three cases were analysed consisting of 156 (70%) males and 67 (30%) females with a male: female of 2.3:1. There is a steady increase in the incidence of nasopharyngeal cancer over the last two decades. Overall, the mean age was 41.1years (age range 10 to 81 years). The females had a mean age of 36.1years (age range 11 to 80 years) and males 43.2 years (age range 10 to 81 years). The peak age group of incidence for the females was 20-29 and 50-59 for the males with an almost equal incidence in the preceding three (3) decades. The ratio of Regaud to Schmincke type cancer reversed with increasing age amongst the females with the Schmincke type more common in the first decade but this was not reproduced in the males.
Conclusion: There is a steady increase in the incidence of nasopharyngeal cancer over the last two decades. The two main histological types showed differential variation between the sexes suggesting a possible biological effect in the manifestation of this disease.