Cancer risks in Nairobi (2000–2014) by ethnic group

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Abstract

We investigated the ethnic differences in the risk of several cancers in the population of Nairobi, Kenya, using data from the Nairobi Cancer Registry. The registry records the variable “Tribe” for each case, a categorisation that includes, as well as 22 tribal groups, categories for Kenyans of European and of Asian origin, and non-Kenyan Africans. Tribes included in the final analysis were Kikuyu, Kamba, Kisii, Kalenjin, Luo, Luhya, Somalis, Asians, non-Kenyans, Caucasians, Other tribes and unknown. The largest group was taken as the reference category for the calculation of odds ratios; this was African Kenyans (for comparisons by race), and Kikuyus (the tribe with the largest numbers of cancer registrations (38% of the total)) for comparisons between the Kenyan tribes. P-values are obtained from the Wald test. Cancers that were more common among the white population than in black Kenyans were skin cancers and cancers of the bladder, while cancers that are more common in Kenyan Asians include colorectal, lung, breast, ovary, corpus uteri and non-Hodgkin lymphoma. Cancers that were less common among Asians and Caucasians were oesophagus, stomach and cervix cancer. Within the African population, there were marked differences in cancer risk by tribe. Among the tribes of Bantu ethnicity, the Kamba had higher risks of melanoma, Kaposi sarcoma, liver and cervix cancer, and lower risks of oesophagus, stomach, corpus uteri and nervous system cancers. Luo and Luhya had much higher odds of Kaposi sarcoma and Burkitt lymphoma.

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