Gastric Malignancy Survival in Zambia, Southern Africa: A two year follow up study

  • AW Asombang
  • V Kayamba
  • E Turner-Moss
  • L Banda
  • G Colditz
  • V Mudenda
  • R Zulu
  • E Sinkala
  • P Kelly


Background: Gastric cancer poses a significant global health burden. It is the second most common cause of cancer death worldwide and the ninth leading cause of cancer mortality in Zambia, at a rate of 3.8/100,000; comparable to USA (2/100,000) and UK (3.4/100,000). Survival data on gastric malignancy in Zambia is not known.

Objectives: To provide preliminary survival rates of patients with histologically proven gastric adenocarcinoma in Zambia.

Study Design: Using our prospective gastric cancer research database, we conducted a retrospective audit of patients diagnosed with gastric cancer at the University Teaching Hospital, Zambia, from June 2010 until January 2012. We contacted patients or their relatives using phone numbers provided at time of enrollment.

Main Outcomes: We reviewed age, sex, demographic data (income, education), body mass index, symptoms, duration of symptoms, treatment (surgery, chemotherapy, radiotherapy or combination) and survival outcome.  Analysis was performed using Kaplan-Meier models and log rank test.

Results: Fifty one patients were diagnosed with gastric adenocarcinoma during the study period, but follow-up data were available for 50. Median survival was 142 days. Age, sex, income, education, BMI, tumor location, and treatment modality were not significantly associated with overall survival. In Cox regression models, covariates associated with survival were a history of regular alcohol intake (HR 0.49, 95%CI 0.26,0.92; P=0.025) and intestinal type cancer histology (HR 0.40, 95%CI 0.19,0.83; P=0.01).

Conclusion: Prognosis of newly diagnosed gastric cancer in Zambia is poor with significant mortality within 1 year
of diagnosis, particularly among patients with weight loss and dysphagia.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 0047-651X
print ISSN: 0047-651X