Objectives: There have been several modifications to the classification of childhood cancers since the first report (1968–1981) specific to the Jamaican paediatric population was published in 1988. This paper reports on paediatric cancer incidence in Kingston and St Andrew, Jamaica, for the 20-year period 1983–2002 based on these modifications.
Methods: All cases of cancer diagnosed in children (0–14 years), between 1983 and 2002 were extracted from the Jamaica Cancer Registry archives and classified using the International Classification of Childhood Cancer, third edition. Incidence figures were calculated as per the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) reporting format for childhood cancer.
Results: There were 272 cases (133 males, 139 females) of childhood cancer identified in the 20-year period. The overall age standardized rate (ASR) was 69.4 per million; that for males was 67.8 per million, and for females, 70.9 per million. The three most common malignancies overall were leukaemia (21.3%), lymphoma (15.8%) and brain and spinal neoplasms (14.0%). In males, the highest ASRs were seen for leukaemia (14.8 per million), lymphoma (12.7 per million), and brain and spinal neoplasms (8.2 per million), and in females, leukaemia (14.4 per million), nephroblastoma (11.3 per million), and brain and spinal neoplasms (10.6 per million).
Conclusions: The rankings of the most common childhood malignancies in Jamaica (leukaemia, brain and spinal neoplasms and lymphomas) have shown few changes since the last review. However, there are differences in frequency and gender distribution of nephroblastoma and brain and spinal neoplasms.