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J Glob Oncol. 2016 Dec 21;3(3):194-200. doi: 10.1200/JGO.2016.004945. eCollection 2017 Jun.

Pilot Survey of Breast Cancer Management in Sub-Saharan Africa.

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, Korlebu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana; and . Olopade and , University of Chicago, Chicago, IL.



To understand the current state of breast cancer management in sub-Saharan Africa.


We conducted an anonymous online survey of breast cancer management among African Organization for Research and Treatment in Cancer (AORTIC) members by using a 42-question structured questionnaire in both English and French in 2013.


Twenty members from 19 facilities in 14 countries responded to the survey. Twelve members (60%) belonged to a multidisciplinary breast cancer team. Radiotherapy equipment was available in seven facilities (36%), but equipment had down time at least once a week in four facilities. Available chemotherapy drugs included methotrexate, cyclophosphamide, fluorouracil, anthracyclines, and vincristine, whereas trastuzumab, taxanes, vinorelbine, and gemcitabine were available in few facilities. Core-needle biopsy was available in 16 facilities (84%); mammogram, in 17 facilities (89%); computed tomography scan, in 15 facilities (79%); magnetic resonance imaging, in 11 facilities (58%); and bone scans, in nine facilities (47%). It took an average of 1 to 3 weeks to report histopathology. Immunohistochemistry was available locally in eight facilities (42%), outside hospitals but within the country in seven facilities (37%), and outside the country in four facilities (21%). Thirteen facilities (68%) performed axillary node dissections as part of a breast protocol. Neoadjuvant chemotherapy was the most common therapy for locally advanced breast cancer in 13 facilities (68%). In three facilities (16%), receptor status did not influence the prescription of hormone treatment.


This pilot survey suggests that AORTIC members in sub-Saharan Africa continue to make gains in the provision of access to multidisciplinary breast cancer care, but the lack of adequate pathology and radiotherapy services is a barrier. Focused attention on in-country and regional training needs and improvement of health systems deliverables is urgently needed.

Conflict of interest statement

The following represents disclosure information provided by authors of this manuscript. All relationships are considered compensated. Relationships are self-held unless noted. I = Immediate Family Member, Inst = My Institution. Relationships may not relate to the subject matter of this manuscript. For more information about ASCO's conflict of interest policy, please refer to or Verna D.N.K. VanderpuyeNo relationship to discloseOlufunmilayo I. OlopadeOther Relationship: Co Founder, CancerIQDezheng HuoNo relationship to disclose

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