BMC cancer 2018 01 0518(1) 32 doi 10.1186/s12885-017-3984-z
Breast cancer has a high case fatality rate in sub-Saharan Africa, and this is chiefly because of late detection and inadequate treatment resources. Progressive renovations in diagnostic and management modalities of non-metastatic breast cancer (NMBC) have been noted in the region but there is paucity of data describing the clinical progress of patients with NMBC. This study sought to determine the rates of local relapse, distant metastasis and sequelae and the time span from initial treatment to the occurrence of these adverse events among patients with NMBC.
This was a retrospective review of medical records of patients with histologically confirmed NMBC at the department of radiation therapy and oncology of the Douala General Hospital in Cameroon from the January 1997 to December 2012 period. Clinicopathological and treatment characteristics as well as occurrences of adverse events were studied.
A total of 260 cases were reviewed of which 224/260 (86.2%) had invasive ductal carcinoma. Surgery was performed on 258/260 cases (99.2%) with 187/258 (72.5%) being modified radical mastectomies. Various treatment combinations were used in up to 228/260 patients (87.5%) while surgery alone was the treatment in the remaining 32 cases (12.5%). Metastasis occurred in 142/260 cases (54.6%) of which 68/142 (26.2%) were local relapses and 74/142 (28.5%) were distant metastases. Among the cases of distant metastasis, 9.2% were bone, 8.5% lungs, 6.9% nodal, and 5.4% brain. Metastasis to multiple organs was noted in 4.7% of these cases. The median periods of occurrence of local relapse and distant metastases were 13 and 12 months respectively. Sequelae occurred in 26/260 cases (10%) and were noted after an average of 30 months. The main sequelae were lymphoedema (6.5%) and lung fibrosis (1.5%). At the end of the period under review, 118/260 patients (45.4%) were alive and disease-free with a median follow up time of 24 months.
Adverse events were frequent among patients who received primary treatment for NMBC. Available cancer therapeutic modalities ought to be supplemented with efficient strategies of follow-up and monitoring so as to optimize the care provided to these patients and improve on their survival.