Original Research

Breast cancer in Rivers State, Nigeria: Ten-year review of the Port Harcourt cancer registry

Christopher C. Obiorah, Emmy K. Abu
South African Journal of Oncology | Vol 3 | a58 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/sajo.v3i0.58 | © 2019 Christopher C. Obiorah, Emmy K. Abu | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 31 October 2018 | Published: 16 July 2019

About the author(s)

Christopher C. Obiorah, Department of Anatomical Pathology and Cancer Registry Unit, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria
Emmy K. Abu, Department of Anatomical Pathology and Cancer Registry Unit, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, South Africa


Background: With breast cancer (BCA) causing high morbidity and mortality among Nigerians, no population-based cancer registry study has been carried out in Rivers State.

Aim: The aim of this study was to provide population-based BCA profile in Port Harcourt and environs.

Setting: Port Harcourt cancer registry situated at the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Method: Port Harcourt cancer registry data were reviewed for BCAs recorded between 2008 and 2017. Trend analysis and Minitab version 16 software were used to forecast incidence.

Results: Breast cancers with 777 cases (29%) constituted the commonest cancer among both males and females: 49.7% and 3% of all female and male cancers, respectively. Female to male ratio was 20.6:1. While the age range was 15–98 years, the mean age was 45.9 (12.6) years (95% confidence interval [CI], 45.0–46.7). The combined peak age group was 40–44 years. The mean age of the females was 45.5 (12.4) years (95% CI, 44.6–46.4), while that of the males was 53.5 (13.7) years (95% CI, 48.9–58.1). Diagnosis was significantly associated with gender (p < 0.05). Although 48 cases (6.2%) were below 30 years and 454 cases (58.4%) were between 30 and 49 years, diagnosis was not significantly associated with age (p > 0.05). Age-adjusted rate ranged between 3.9/100 000 in 2008 and 19.7/100 000 in 2017. Infiltrating ductal carcinomas constituted 97.9%. In situ carcinomas constituted 0.7%. Infiltrating lobular carcinoma constituted 1.4%. Malignant stromal tumours constituted 0.6%.

Conclusion: The burden of BCA is heavy in Port Harcourt, and the mean age is lower than the figures of developed nations. Instituting measures that will entrench prevention, screening, timely diagnosis and improved treatment is imperative.


population; cancer; registry; breast; morphology; Port Harcourt


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