Breast cancer in Kumasi, Ghana

Ghana Med J. 2012 Mar;46(1):8-13.


Background: Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer deaths in Ghanaian women.

Objective: To describes the characteristics of breast cancer patients attending the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital in Kumasi, Ghana.

Method: The study was conducted at the Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital. Between July 1st 2004 and June 30(th) 2009 patients presenting with breast lumps were assessed by clinical examination, imaging studies and pathological examination. Relevant clinical and pathological were recorded prospectively data on all patients with microscopically proven breast cancer. The cancers were graded according to the modified Bloom-Richardson system. Tissue immunoperoxidase stains for oestrogen, progesterone receptors and c-erb2 oncogene were performed with commercially prepared antigens and reagents.

Results: Nineteen thousand four hundred and twenty-three (19,423) patients were seen during the study period. There were 330 (1.7%) patients with histologically proven breast cancer. The mean age was 49.1 years. A palpable breast lump was detected in 248 patients (75.2%). Two hundred and eighty-one patients (85.2%) presented with Stages III and IV, 271 (82.1%) invasive and 230 (85.2%) high grade carcinomas. Oestrogen and progesterone receptors were positive in 32 and 9 cases respectively. Her2 protein was positive in 11 cases.

Conclusion: In Kumasi, as in other parts of Ghana, breast cancer affects mostly young pre-menopausal who present with advanced disease. The cancers have unfavourable prognostic features and are unlikely to respond to hormonal therapy.

Keywords: Breast cancer; Kumasi; late stage presentation; unfavourable characteristics.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • African Continental Ancestry Group
  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / pathology*
  • Carcinoma / diagnosis*
  • Carcinoma / epidemiology
  • Carcinoma / pathology
  • Female
  • Ghana / epidemiology
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Grading / statistics & numerical data
  • Neoplasm Staging / statistics & numerical data
  • Receptor, ErbB-2 / analysis*


  • Receptor, ErbB-2