World Journal of Surgical Medical and Radiation Oncology Volume No 6

Original Article Open Access

Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the Oral cavity and Oropharynx in Ghanaians: - A study of Histopathological Charts over 20 years.

Alhassan Emil Abdulai and Isaac Kwasi Nuamah
World Journal of Surgical Medical and Radiation Oncology 2013, 2:7



Oral cancer presents a variety of challenges to all involved in their management. Though there are reports of its rising incidence trend, there is limited published data on this subject amongst Ghanaians. This study aims to determine the incidence of Squamous Cell Carcinoma of the oral cavity and Oropharynx, (OSCC).

Study Design

A retrospective study.

Materials and methods

The sample comprised pathology charts of all malignant head and neck tumours recorded at Korle Bu teaching hospital, Accra, Ghana, from 1989 to 2008 (twenty years). All cases of OSCC were selected, reclassified using the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems 10th Revision (ICD-10), and studied in detail. Statistical analysis was carried out using Microsoft Excel* spreadsheet.


There were 248 OSCC. Male to female ratio was 2.35:1. The Commonest site was the tongue (N=64)25.81%, followed in descending order by the upper gum (N=51)20.56%, oral mucosa (N=37)14.92%, palate (N=30)12.1%, lower gum (N=24)9.68%, oropharynx (N=18)7.26%, lip (N=9)3.63%, parotid (N=7)2.82%, cheek (N=5)2.02% and floor of the mouth (N=3)1.21%. The peak incidence was in the fifth decade (74/248) 29.84%. OSCC was 12.15% (248/2041) of all head and neck malignancies, 33.02% (248/751) of all HNSCC and 85.52 %( 248/290) of all oral malignancies or 91.64% (241/263) excluding salivary gland malignancies.


OSCC is the most predominant oral malignancy in Ghana, with its highest incidence in the 5th decade. The tongue is the most prevalent site; it is uncommon in the floor of the mouth and affects males more than twice as females.


Squamous cell; Carcinoma; Oral cavity; Oropharynx; Ghana.

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