Estimating the incidence of breast cancer in Africa: a systematic review and meta-analysis.

D Adeloye, OY Sowunmi, W Jacobs, RA David, AA Adeosun, AO Amuta, S Misra, M Gadanya, A Auta, MO Harhay, KY Chan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (journal)peer-review

84 Citations (Scopus)


Background Breast cancer is estimated to be the most common cancer worldwide. We sought to assemble publicly available data from Africa to provide estimates of the incidence of breast cancer on the continent. Methods A systematic search of Medline, EMBASE, Global Health and African Journals Online (AJOL) was conducted. We included population- or hospital-based registry studies on breast cancer conducted in Africa, and providing estimates of the crude incidence of breast cancer among women. A random effects meta-analysis was employed to determine the pooled incidence of breast cancer across studies. Results The literature search returned 4648 records, with 41 studies conducted across 54 study sites in 22 African countries selected. We observed important variations in reported cancer incidence between population- and hospital- based cancer registries. The overall pooled crude incidence of breast cancer from population-based registries was 24.5 per 100 000 person years (95% confidence interval (CI) 20.1-28.9). The incidence in North Africa was higher at 29.3 per 100 000 (95% CI 20.0-38.7) than Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) at 22.4 per 100 000 (95% CI 17.2-28.0). In hospital-based registries, the overall pooled crude incidence rate was estimated at 23.6 per 100 000 (95% CI 18.5-28.7). SSA and Northern Africa had relatively comparable rates at 24.0 per 100 000 (95% CI 17.5-30.4) and 23.2 per 100 000 (95% CI 6.6-39.7), respectively. Across both registries, incidence rates increased considerably between 2000 and 2015. Conclusions The available evidence suggests a growing incidence of breast cancer in Africa. The representativeness of these estimates is uncertain due to the paucity of data in several countries and calendar years, as well as inconsistency in data collation and quality across existing cancer registries.

Original languageEnglish
Article number010419
Pages (from-to)1-21
JournalJournal of Global Health
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2018


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