Background of the study: Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women in both developed and developing nations. The survival of breast cancer is increasing in developed countries with improved treatment modalities, while still very poor in developing countries. In Nigeria, few breast cancer survival data are available.
Research design: This is a retrospective cross-sectional study.
Objectives: To determine the survival of breast cancer patients and possible factors influencing it.
Methodology: Socio-demographic and clinical variables from treatment records and case notes of breast cancer patients treated from 1 January 2004 to 31 December 2008 at the Department of Radiation Oncology, University College Hospital, Ibadan. The status of patients was determined at 2 and 5 years after diagnosis. The survival of patients with breast cancer was compared using Log Rank test according to socio-demographic and clinical variables. The median survival times were obtained from the Kaplan–Meier survival curve. Cox’s proportional hazard model was fitted for those that were statistically significant in the Log Rank test. Missing data were reported as unknown, not documented or missing.
Results: A total of 378 patients were analysed. Age ranged between 22.0 and 87.0 years with mean of 47.6 (standard deviation (SD) = 11.2) years. Almost all patients were females (98.4%). More than half (55.3%) presented at stage III, 28.0% had metastasis and the stage was unknown in about 6.6% of the patients. Invasive ductal carcinoma was the most prevalent histology (89.2%). Only 124 (32.8%) patients had their histological grade stated and most of the patients had no immunohistochemistry done. All the patients had radiotherapy, chemotherapy and surgery. About 25.1% of the patients were lost to follow up. The 2- and 5-year survival rates were 56.4% and 37.6%, respectively. The 2- and 5-year survival rates according to stage were stage I (80.0% and 66.7%), stage II (67.7% and 57.6%), stage III (51.4% and 27.9%) and stage IV (37.9% and 13.8%). Median survival time was 41 months (95%CI = 35.0–44.0). The disease-free survival at 2 and 5 years was 66.6% and 60.3%, respectively. Median time for recurrence was 8.0 months. Level of education, height, tumour unilaterality, clinical tumour size, stage at presentation, presence of distant metastases, clinical axillary lymph node metastasis, supraclavicular node metastasis, mode of surgery and axillary clearance were found to have statistically significant association with survival.
Conclusion: A large number of the patients in our study presented at a young age, late with advanced stage disease which results in poor survival outcome.