Trends in the incidence of cancer in the black population of Harare, Zimbabwe 1991-2010

Int J Cancer. 2013 Aug 1;133(3):721-9. doi: 10.1002/ijc.28063. Epub 2013 Mar 4.


Incidence rates of different cancers have been calculated for the black population of Harare, Zimbabwe for a 20-year period (1991-2010) coinciding with continuing social and lifestyle changes, and the peak, and subsequent wane, of the HIV-AIDS epidemic. The overall risk of cancer increased during the period in both sexes, with rates of cervix and prostate cancers showing particularly dramatic increases (3.3% and 6.4% annually, respectively). By 2004, prostate cancer had become the most common cancer of men. The incidence of cancer of the esophagus, formerly the most common cancer of men, has remained relatively constant, whereas rates of breast and cervix cancers, the most common malignancies of women, have shown significant increases (4.9% and 3.3% annually, respectively). The incidence of Kaposi sarcoma increased to a maximum around 1998-2000 and then declined in all age groups, and in both sexes The incidence of squamous cell cancers of the conjunctiva is relatively high, with temporal trends similar to those of Kaposi sarcoma. Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, the fifth most common cancer of men and fourth of women, showed a steady increase in incidence throughout the period (6.7-6.9% annually), although rates in young adults (15-39) have decreased since 2001. Cancer control in Zimbabwe, as elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa, involves meeting the challenge of emerging cancers associated with westernization of lifestyles (large bowel, breast and prostate), while the incidence of cancers associated with poverty and infection (liver, cervix and esophagus) shows little decline, and the residual burden of the AIDS-associated cancers remains significant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome / complications*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma, Squamous Cell / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Life Style
  • Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkin / epidemiology
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / epidemiology*
  • Prostatic Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Risk
  • Sarcoma, Kaposi / epidemiology
  • Uterine Cervical Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Zimbabwe / epidemiology