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The incidence of esophageal cancer varies widely in the world. In the Middle East, Africa, and Asia and parts of Europe, squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus dominates the esophageal cancer landscape. Worldwide the rates are highest in Northern China, South Africa, Turkey and Iran. In the United States, the black population has a five-fold higher incidence of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma than the white population. To determine the prevalence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus in a single tertiary center in South Africa. Patients referred to Gastroenterology Division of Steve Biko Academic Hospital for upper gastrointestinal endoscopy were recruited. Those with a known diagnoses of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus were recorded and those with suspicious lesions had biopsies done. These were then evaluated by an experienced histopathologist. 6118 patients were recruited. Squamous cell carcinoma was found in 59 patients giving us a prevalence of 0.96% 95%CI. The cancer was found mainly in back elderly males. The prevalence of squamous cell carcinoma of the esophagus in this single center study is 0.96%, 95% confidence interval and is a disease of black elderly males as seen elsewhere. Bigger multicenter studies are needed to further clarify this findings.
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