Background: Head and neck neoplasia constitute one of the commonest cancers in India. Use of smokeless tobacco (Pan masala, Zarda etc.) is on the increase in North India, especially in Uttar Pradesh, and is responsible for the large majority of these tumours.
Aim: To assess the patients' characteristics, yearly prevalence and histopathological subtypes of the head and neck neoplasia (excluding oral cavity) in Allahabad and surrounding regions.
Settings and design: A retrospective study of 11 years from 1990 to 2000 was designed. Data was collected year-wise using the tumor registry data.
Material and methods: All biopsies submitted for histopathology to the Pathology department were reviewed and analyzed for demographic data, site and diagnosis.
Statistical analysis: The Kolmogorov-Smirnov Two-Sample Test was utilized to determine whether two distributions are the same.
Results: A total of 40559 biopsies were examined in the department, of which, lesions of the head and neck region, excluding the oral cavity, constituted 694 biopsies (409 males and 285 females). One hundred and forty-four malignant lesions were reported, 114 being males and 30 females. A comparison of the age-specific prevalence rates of cancer during the study period showed that the prevalence was highest in patients belonging to the 50-59 years age group and squamous cell carcinoma Grade II was the most prevalent type. On an average, 58 new biopsies per annum were received.
Conclusions: Properly structured site-specific data like this can augment the National Cancer Registry Programme and is an essential indicator for the magnitude and the pattern of the cancer problem in India.