Objective: To determine the distribution of malignancies in adolescents and young adults (AYA; 15 to 29
years) in Jamaica.
Methods: All cases of malignancies diagnosed in AYA in the period 1988–2007, were extracted from the files of the Jamaica Cancer Registry. For each case, age, gender and diagnosis were recorded and the diagnoses categorized according to the recently proposed diagnostic groups for cancers in AYA. The data were used to calculate incidence rates and relative frequencies.
Results: Among males, the age-specific incidence rate for the oldest age group (25–29 years) was higher than that recorded for each of the younger groups. In females, there was a progressive increase in incidence with increasing age. The age-standardized rates (ASRs) per million were 131.4 (males) and 226.1
(females). In males, the highest ASRs (per million) were those for lymphoma (34.7), carcinoma (29.3) and soft tissue sarcoma (17.2), and in females, carcinoma (121.6), lymphoma (31.4) and germ cell and trophoblastic neoplasms (14.6). Lymphoma was the commonest diagnosis in younger males, and ranked second to carcinoma in the oldest. Carcinoma and lymphoma were the commonest and second commonest
diagnoses, respectively, among all three age groups in females, with carcinomas accounting for progressively
greater proportions of tumours with increasing age.
Conclusion: The incidence of malignancy in AYA in Jamaica is higher in females than in males. In both genders, increasing age is accompanied by increasing incidence and a shift from non-epithelial to epithelial
malignancies. This shift occurs at an earlier age in females.