A review of breast cancer pathology reports in Nigeria

23 Feb 2021
Adedayo O Joseph, Ya-Huei Li, Omolola Salako, Suhail Doi, Onyinye D Balogun, Opeyemi M Awofeso, Fatimah Abdulkareem, Adedayo A Onitilo

Background: Diagnosis and treatment of cancer rely heavily on imaging, histopathology and molecular information. Incomplete or missing tumour information can hinder the delivery of high-quality care in oncology practice, especially in resource-limited countries. To evaluate the completeness of histopathology reporting in a real-world setting and identify areas for future cancer care delivery research efforts, we retrospectively analysed reports from patients diagnosed with breast cancer who received care at a high-volume oncology department at a hospital in Lagos, Nigeria.

Methods: Demographic, institutional and histopathology characteristics were retrospectively obtained from 1,001 patient records from 2007 to 2016. Completeness was defined as reporting five tumour features (tumour histology, tumour grade, laterality, oestrogen receptor (ER) or progesterone receptor (PR) and human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 (HER2)) for biopsy specimens and seven tumour features (tumour size, tumour histology, tumour grade, laterality, ER/PR, HER2 and lymph node involvement) for surgical specimens.

Results: The mean age of patients was 48.6 ± 11.7 years with a predominantly female population (99.3%). A majority of pathologic reports were produced after 2011, and two-thirds of the reports originated from centres or labs within Lagos, Nigeria (67.7%). Most reports documented primary site (98.0%) and specimen type (85.0%) while other characteristics were less often recorded. This led to substantial variation in reporting between biopsy (13.4%) and surgical (6.1%) specimens for an overall low pathology report completeness <10%.

Conclusion: The majority of patient records analysed lacked complete documentation of breast cancer histopathological characteristics commonly used in oncology practice. Our study highlights a need to identify and address the contributing factors for incomplete histopathological reporting in Nigeria and will guide future clinical programmatic developments.

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