Anaemia prevalence and factors associated with haemoglobin change following radiotherapy in individuals with cancers at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Tanzania
Background: Despite the fact that anaemia is common worldwide, limited studies have been done in most developing countries to estimate its prevalence and factors associated with haemoglobin change in patients with cancers receiving radiotherapy.
Methods: This was a descriptive cross-sectional study conducted at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute in Dar es salaam, Tanzania. All individuals with cancers who were admitted in the wards for radiation treatment from August to December 2013 were included. Information on social-clinical characteristics, cancer type and associated factors as well as haemoglobin level before and after radiation were obtained. The prevalence of anaemia was determined as a proportion and linear regression was used to determine factors associated with haemoglobin change.
Results: A total of 230 study subjects were available for analysis, of whom 82% were females. The overall mean age was 50±14 years. Most of the subjects (44%) were residing in the coastal regions, 50% had never attended school and 77% had no formal employment. The overall prevalence of anaemia was 77% before and 82% after radiotherapy. Multivariate linear regression analysis revealed that history of blood transfusion (beta-coefficient= 1.193; p=0.004) was the only factor associated with absolute change in haemoglobin.
Conclusion: The prevalence of anaemia was high, regardless of the cancer type. Blood transfusion appeared to have a positive change in haemoglobin following radiotherapy. Awareness should be increased to provide early detection of the condition with appropriate corrective measures.