Breast cancer, the most common cancer worldwide, is the leading cause of cancer mortality in Ghanaian women. Previous studies find Ghanaian women are diagnosed at a younger age and at more advanced stages (III and IV), and have tumors with characteristics similar to African American women. We sought to remedy gaps in knowledge about breast cancer survival in Ghana and its relation to demographic and biologic factors of the tumors at diagnosis to assist in cancer control and registration planning.
Individuals with a breast cancer diagnosis who sought care at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital from 2009 to 2014 were identified via medical records. Follow-up telephone interviews were held to assess survival. Kaplan-Meier plots and Cox proportional hazards models assessed survival associated with clinical and demographic characteristics.
A total of 223 patients completed follow-up and were analyzed. The median survival was 3.8 years. Approximately 50% of patients were diagnosed with grade 3 tumors, which significantly increased the risk of recurrence or death (hazard ratio [HR] for grade 2 versus 1, 2.98; 95% CI, 1.26 to 7.02; HR grade 3 v 1, 2.56; 95% CI, 1.08 to 6.07; P = .04). No other variables were significantly associated with survival.
Higher tumor grade was significantly associated with shorter survival, indicating impact of aggressive biology at diagnosis on higher risk of cancer spread and recurrence. Contrary to prevailing notions, telephone numbers were not reliable for follow-up. Collecting additional contact information will likely contribute to improvements in patient care and tracking. A region-wide population-based active registry is important to implement cancer control programs and improve survival in sub-Saharan Africa.