Incidence patterns, care continuum and impact of treatment on survival among women with breast cancer in Ghana and the United States

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer among women worldwide. Of the five breast cancer subtypes, triple negative breast cancer (TNBC) is the most aggressive subtype. Black women in the US and Ghana are more likely to be diagnosed with TNBC, at young ages and advanced stages. Combining information from Ghana and the US, this project identified the breast cancer care continuum in Ghana, examined the breast cancer incidence patterns in Ghana and the US and assessed the optimal surgical treatment for TNBC. In the first manuscript, we examined how women in Ghana navigate the healthcare system and factors that influence their decisions and ability to seek and access breast cancer care. We interviewed thirty-one women diagnosed with breast cancer in Kumasi, Ghana. Based on the findings from the interviews, we presented a framework showing specific steps in the pathways and how women transition from one step to another. In the second manuscript, we assessed factors explaining the younger age at breast cancer diagnosis among Ghanaian women compared to women in the US. To achieve these aims we analyzed breast cancer data from the Kumasi Cancer Registry, the only population-based cancer registry in Ghana, and compared it to the US Surveillance, Epidemiology and End Results (SEER) data. Population age structure, screening and cohort effects explain the younger age at breast cancer diagnosis among women in Ghana In the third manuscript, we examined whether the poor prognosis of TNBC warrants a more aggressive surgical approach and whether there is value in expanded use of radiation therapy among women with TNBC who receive mastectomy. We found that breast conserving surgery followed by radiotherapy is an effective treatment for women with early-stage TNBC. Findings from this dissertation are timely due to the rapidly rising burden of breast cancer in sub-Saharan Africa and persistent disparities in the US.

Macrovascular Complications in Patients with Diabetes Mellitus: Incidence and Impact on Survival in Kazakhstan

Background and aim: Diabetic patients are at an increased risk for the development of macrovascular complications such as acute myocardial infarction (AMI), stroke and lower-limb amputations (LLA). This study aimed to explore a. the incidence of hospital admission for macrovascular complications (AMI, stroke, and LLA); b. to assess the impact of hospital admission on survival in a large population with diabetes mellitus living in Kazakhstan.

Materials and methods: Retrospective observational study using a nationwide anonymized electronic database of 98.469 hospitalized diabetic patients from Kazakhstan between November 2013 and December 2019. The incidence of hospital admissions for AMI, stroke and LLA were obtained to calculate their all-time cumulative incidence, and survival rate at follow-up.

Results: The all-time cumulative incidence of hospital admissions was 1.30% for AMI, 1.94% for stroke and 2.94% for LLA. The incidence of macrovascular complications was statistically significantly higher in males compared to females (p-value<0.05). 29.03% of diabetic patients with AMI, 25.16% with stroke and 29.80% with LLA died during the follow-up period. Individuals with AMI had 3.58 (95% CI 3.20; 4.01) times, with stroke 3.86 (95% CI 3.52; 4.24) times and with LLA 3.63 (95% CI 3.38; 3.88) times higher hazard of 6-year death compared to diabetic patients free of these complications. The stratified survival analysis by sex indicated the lower survival in women than in men, and the lower survival in older age groups.

Conclusion: The results from this study shows that cumulative incidence of AMI and stroke among diabetic patients admitted in the hospitals in Kazakhstan between 2013-2019 years was similar to the estimates from other countries, but the incidence of LLA was significantly higher in Kazakhstan. Patients with diabetes mellitus (DM) in Kazakhstan are at high risk of excess mortality if they suffer from macro-vascular complications. More research is required to explore the reasons for the high incidence of those complications, in order to propose systematic solutions for lowering the incidence and improve survival.

Trauma system developments reduce mortality in hospitalized trauma patients in Al-Ain City, United Arab Emirates, despite increased severity of injury

Background: Trauma is a leading cause of death in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). There have been major developments in the trauma system in Al-Ain City during the last two decades. We aimed to study the effects of these developments on the trauma pattern, severity, and clinical outcome of hospitalized trauma patients in Al-Ain City, United Arab Emirates.

Methods: This is a retrospective analysis of two separate sets of prospectively collected trauma registry data of Al-Ain Hospital. Data were collected over two periods: from March 2003 to March 2006 and from January 2014 to December 2017. Demography, injury mechanism, injury location, and clinical outcomes of 2573 trauma patients in the first period were compared with 3519 patients in the second period.

Results: Trauma incidence decreased by 38.2% in Al-Ain City over the last 10 years. Trauma to females, UAE nationals, and the geriatric population significantly increased over time (p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test for each). Falls on the same level significantly increased over time, while road traffic collisions and falls from height significantly decreased over time (p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test for each). Mortality significantly decreased over time (2.3% compared with 1%, p < 0.0001, Fisher's exact test). Conclusions: Developments in the trauma system of our city have reduced mortality in hospitalized trauma patients by 56% despite an increased severity of injury. Furthermore, the injury incidence in our city decreased by 38.2% over the last decade. This was mainly in road traffic collisions and work-related injuries. Nevertheless, falls on the same level in the geriatric population continue to be a significant problem that needs to be addressed.

The fluctuating incidence, improved survival of patients with breast cancer, and disparities by age, race, and socioeconomic status by decade, 1981-2010.

Breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer and the leading cause of cancer-related deaths among women worldwide. However, the data on breast cancer incidence and survival over a long period, especially the dynamic changes in the role of race and socioeconomic status (SES), are scant.

To evaluate treatment outcomes of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades, the data from the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) registries were used to assess the survival of patients with breast cancer. Period analysis was used to analyze the incidence and survival trend; survival was evaluated by the relative survival rates (RSRs) and Kaplan-Meier analyses. The HRs for age, race, stage, and SES were assessed by Cox regression.

A total of 433,366 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between 1981 and 2010 were identified from the original nine SEER registries. The incidences of breast cancer in each decade were 107.1 per 100,000, 117.5 per 100,000, and 109.8 per 100,000. The 10-year RSRs improved each decade, from 70.8% to 81.5% to 85.6% (P<0.0001). The lower survival in black race and high-poverty group is confirmed by Kaplan-Meier analyses and RSRs. Furthermore, Cox regression analyses demonstrated that age, race, SES, and stage are independent risk factors for patients with breast cancer in each decade.

The current data demonstrated a fluctuating incidence trend with improving survival rates of patients with breast cancer over the past 3 decades. In addition, the survival disparity exists among different races, ages, SESs, and stages.

Towards effective Ponseti clubfoot care: the Uganda Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project.

Neglected clubfoot is common, disabling, and contributes to poverty in developing nations. The Ponseti clubfoot treatment has high efficacy in correcting the clubfoot deformity in ideal conditions but is demanding on parents and on developing nations’ healthcare systems. Its effectiveness and the best method of care delivery remain unknown in this context. The 6-year Uganda Sustainable Clubfoot Care Project (USCCP) aims to build the Ugandan healthcare system’s capacity to treat children with the Ponseti method and assess its effectiveness. We describe the Project and its achievements to date (March 2008). The Ugandan Ministry of Health has approved the Ponseti method as the preferred treatment for congenital clubfoot in all its hospitals. USCCP has trained 798 healthcare professionals to identify and treat foot deformities at birth. Ponseti clubfoot care is now available in 21 hospitals; in 2006-2007, 872 children with clubfeet were seen. USCCP-designed teaching modules on clubfoot and the Ponseti method are in use at two medical and three paramedical schools. 1152 students in various health disciplines have benefited. USCCP surveys have (1) determined the incidence of clubfoot in Uganda as 1.2 per 1000 live births, (2) gained knowledge surrounding attitudes, beliefs, and practices about clubfoot across different regions, and (3) identified barriers to adherence to Ponseti treatment protocols. USCCP is now following a cohort of treated children to evaluate its effectiveness in the Ugandan context.Level IV, therapeutic study. See Guidelines for Authors for a complete description of levels of evidence.