Factors Contributing to the Low Survival Among Women With a Diagnosis of Invasive Cervical Cancer in Ghana

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Cervical cancer is one of the most common cancers among women worldwide, and more than 85% of the disease occurs in low- and middle-income countries. Although it ranks as the most common cancer in Ghanaian women, there are no data available on cervical cancer survival.


Information on women with a diagnosis of cervical cancer from 2010 to 2013 was collected from the Komfo Anokye and Korle-Bu Teaching Hospitals through review of paper-based and electronic medical records (including pathology records) at the oncology units and the departments of obstetrics and gynecology. Telephone interviews were conducted with patients and relatives to gather further information. Data were recorded using a standardized questionnaire and analyzed using summary statistics.


Information for 821 women was available for the survival analysis. Of these, 497 (60.5%) died during follow-up. At 3 years after diagnosis, survival was 39%. Survival was lowest in women with stage IV disease. Women with squamous cell carcinoma had a survival advantage over those with adenocarcinoma. Furthermore, women who received surgery, radiotherapy, and chemotherapy had better survival than did women with other forms of treatment.


In conclusion, cervical cancer survival is low in Ghana and is likely to be improved if a greater proportion of the disease is detected early. Improving knowledge of the disease for early diagnosis, reducing financial barriers, and greater organization of health care delivery are likely to improve survival from cervical cancer in Ghana.

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