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Breast Cancer in an Ethiopian Population, Addis Ababa

Tessema Ersumo


Background: Breast cancer is a major life-threatening public health problem of great concern. Long-term increases in the incidence of the disease are being observed in both industrialized and developing world.

Methods: During 1995-99, 137 biopsy proven breast cancer cases underwent surgical treatment at Tikur Anbessa Hospital, Addis Ababa. Of these cases, records of 125 were retrieved and analyzed to assess the pattern and treatment outcome of the disease.

Results: The median age of females was 40 years. The median duration of the presenting symptom on admission was nearly 1 year. Clinically, majority of cases had stage III disease. Invasive ductal carcinoma was the most frequent type. Eighty-nine (71.2%) patients underwent modified radical mastectomy. During a short follow-up, 50 (45.9%) of 109 patients were seen with recurrences. Only 4 cases were seen at 5 or more years.

Conclusion: In our series, breast cancer affected mainly young women; patients presented excessively late a probable contributor to the high rate of early relapse. Follow-up was poor. Public education on the importance of regular self breast examination to detect breast cancer should be emphasized.

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eISSN: 2073-9990