A historical perspective of registered cases of malignant ocular tumors in Zimbabwe (1990 to 1999): is HIV infection a factor?
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In 1998 the Zimbabwe National Cancer Registry ranked eye tumours as the sixth commonest group of tumours reported in Zimbabwe (3.9%). The leading tumours included Kaposi's sarcoma ( 26%), cervical and uterine tumours (23%), non-melanoma tumours of the skin (12%), breast tumours (9%) and prostatic tumours (8%) respectively. These data were striking, since the proportion of eye tumours among all registered tumours for 1998 of 4% had more than trebled the 1990 proportion of 1.2%.' Work done by Chokunonga and colleagues in 1999 showed a dramatic increase in the number o f reported cases of squamous cell carcinoma o f the conjunctiva between 1993 and 1995. A retrospective study conducted by Pola and colleagues on ocular surface squamous neoplasia (OSSN) seen at Sekuru Kaguvi Eye Unit (SKEU) showed that the annual frequency of squamous cell carcinomas o f the conjunctiva among conjunctival biopsies rose from 33% in 1996 to 58% in the year 2000. Published studies have found a higher incidence of squamous cell carcinoma in patients with HIV and AIDS. Two Australian retrospective studies found that older males were predominantly affected by ocular surface squamous neoplasia (including invasive squamous cell carcinoma). Retrospective studies done in Africa on tumours o f the eye and adnexae have shown that squamous cell carcinoma of the conjunctiva and retinoblastoma are the leading malignant tumours affecting these tissues.