The objective was to investigate survival of breast cancer patients at Mulago Hospital. A retrospective study of the medical records of 297 breast cancer patients referred to the combined breast clinic housed in the radiotherapy department between 1996 and 2000 was done. The female/male ratio was 24 : 1. The age range was 22-85 years, with a median of 45 years and peak age group of 30-39 years. Twenty-three percent had early disease (stages 0-IIb) and 26% had metastatic disease. Poorly differentiated was the most common pathological grade (58%) followed by moderately differentiated (33%) and well-differentiated (9%) tumours. The commonest pathological type encountered was 'not otherwise specified' (76%). Of all patients, 75% had surgery, 76% had radiotherapy, 60% had hormonotherapy and 29% had chemotherapy. Thirty-six (12%) patients received all the four treatment modalities. The 5-year survival probabilities (Kaplan-Meier) for early disease were 74 and 39% for advanced disease (P=0.001). The overall 5-year survival was 56%, which is lower than the rates in the South African blacks (64%) and North American whites (82-88%).