Determinants of Delayed Presentation and Advanced-Stage Diagnosis of Breast Cancer in Africa: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Document Type : Systematic Review and Meta-analysis


1 Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara State. Nigeria.

2 Department of Surgery, University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara state. Nigeria.

3 Department of Surgery, University of Cape Coast and Cape Coast Teaching Hospital, Cape Coast. Ghana.

4 Department of Surgery, Ekiti State University, and Ekiti State University Teaching Hospital, Ado-Ekiti, Ekiti state. Nigeria.

5 Department of Radiology, University of Ilorin and University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital, Ilorin, Kwara state. Nigeria.

6 Department of Global Health and Health System Design, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, NY, USA.

7 Global Cancer Disparities Initiatives, Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY, USA.


Background/Objective: Breast cancer (BC) mortality is exceptionally high in Africa due to late presentation and advanced-stage diagnosis. Previous studies examining barriers to early BC presentation are markedly inconsistent, showing conflicting findings within and between African regions, making resource allocation and designing interventional campaigns challenging. Our objective was to assess the strength or magnitude of the association between determinants/risk factors and delayed presentation/advanced-stage diagnosis of BC in Africa. Methods: Electronic searches in PubMed, AJOL, Google, ResearchGate, ScienceDirect, and PubMed Central found eligible articles between 2000 and 2020. The meta-analytical procedure in Meta-XL used the quality effect model. I-squared (I2) above 75% indicated high heterogeneity. The summary effect size was the odds ratio with 95% confidence intervals. Results: The effect of socio-economic and demographic determinants on delay varies across African regions. Low level of education (1.63, 95% CI 1.01-2.63), and not performing breast self examination (BSE) (13.59, 95% CI 3.33-55.4) were significantly associated with delayed presentation. Younger patients had more significant delays in West Africa (WA, 1.41, 95%CI 1.08-1.85), and the reverse occurred in North Africa (0.68, 95%CI 0.48-0.97). Lack of BC knowledge (1.59, 95% CI 1.29-1.97), not performing BSE, or no history of undergoing clinical breast examination (CBE) (2.45, 95% CI 1.60-3.40), were associated with advanced-stage disease at diagnosis. Older patients had significantly more advanced disease in WA, and the reverse occurred in South Africa. Aggressive molecular BC subtypes [Triple negative (OR 1.62, 95% CI 1.27-2.06) or HER2 positive (1.56, 95% CI 1.10-2.23)] were significant determinants of advanced-stage diagnosis. Conclusion: Promoting early presentation and reducing advanced-stage BC throughout Africa should focus on modifiable factors, including providing quality education, improving breast health awareness and BC knowledge, and developing strategies to increase BSE and CBE. Interventions targeting socio-demographic determinants should be context-specific.


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