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ACS Research Highlights

1 in 3 Women with Early-Stage Breast Cancer Delay Chemotherapy After Surgery in Ethiopia, Sub-Saharan Africa

Researcher: Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD
Institution: American Cancer Society
ACS Research Program: ACS Surveillance and Health Equity Science Department

The Challenge:
 There’s limited data, about the receipt of cancer care in Ethiopia and other parts of Africa.

The Research: Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD, senior vice president, Surveillance & Health Equity Science at the ACS, is leading a prospective study to document the experience of women with breast and cervical cancer in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.

purple and green map of Africa with white outlines of countries, Ethiopia is labeled

The study is about the full scope of cancer care, from recognition of symptoms to diagnosis, treatment, and survival. He’s also studying the treatment patterns for select common cancers in sub-Saharan Africa (On the map: Sub-Saharan Africa is green.) according to NCCN harmonized treatment guidelines for the region.

In a recent paper published in Breast Cancer Research and Treatment, he and his collaborators from Ethiopia, Germany, and Boston reported that about 1 in 3 women with breast cancer in Addis Ababa delay (wait more than 90 days) starting chemotherapy after surgery.

The delay was more common in women with low incomes, underscoring the need for Ethiopian public policy to expand health care to low-income populations to improve breast cancer care and other health outcomes in the country.

Why Does It Matter? Receiving treatment that meets the standard of care improves how well people do after treatment. Gathering this data is an early step closer to health equity in Ethiopia and other sub-Saharan African countries.