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Breast neoplasm, Sudanese women, Delayed presentation, Advanceed stage, Sub-Saharan Africa
Background: Little information is available about breast cancer (BC) in Sudan. Therefore, the present study aimed to provide baseline information about the demographic features and tumor characteristics, and also to investigate the associations between demographic variables and presentation stage in BC patients attending the National Cancer Institute-University of Gezira (NCI-UG), Sudan.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, we included all BC patients treated at the NCI-UG from January to December 2013. Patients' demographic, clinical and pathological data were retrieved from the hospital records and analyzed using SPSS version 20, and associations between these factors were tested as well.
Results: A total of 232 cases were included in this research. The majority (97.8%) of subjects were females and 2.2% were males. The median age at diagnosis was 50 years (range, 22-90). The mean time between identification of symptoms and diagnosis was 13 months (SD=16.1). Clinical stages I, II, III, and IV represented 6.9%, 37.0%, 40.9% and 15.2%, respectively. Advanced stage at diagnosis was associated with longer duration between identifying the symptoms to diagnosis (P=0.006). Also the level of education of BC patients was significantly associated with clinical stage at presentation (P = 0.01).
Conclusions: Sudanese patients with BC present at a younger age and with more advanced stage at diagnosis than those in developed countries. Patients' education level and duration from identification of BC symptoms to diagnosis significantly impact the stage at the time of presentation. In limited resource setting, early diagnosis of symptomatic BC is crucial in reducing the disease burden.