Sam Scherber

Diagnostic, referral, and treatment patterns of breast cancer patients in Kumasi, Ghana

According to the most recent Globocan figures, breast cancer accounts for 21% of all new cancer cases in Ghana. This marks an increasing trend in both incident and proportion of the disease since the early 2000s. Additionally, previous studies indicate that the majority of cases are diagnosed as stage III or stage IV by the time treatment is sought at a major medical center. The type of treatment options sought before going to a hospital as well as those which are used at the medical center are not well known. Moreover, it is unknown whether these treatments are standardized according to disease severity, nor how many patients actually receive the full recommended regimen. Using a database created by previous CEESP students as well as medical records available at Komfo Anokye Teaching Hospital (KATH) in Kumasi, Ghana, we hope to better understand these patterns of referral, diagnosis, and treatment of breast cancer. This will allow future researchers and policy makers to more effectively identify and target interventions to improve patient care.

A database containing breast cancer patients who sought treatment in the surgery, chemotherapy/radiotherapy, and/or histopathology departments of KATH will be used for many of our analyses. Specifically, this will allow us to determine the proportion of breast cancer patients who are officially diagnosed at KATH, as well as the proportion receiving various types and combinations of surgery and chemotherapy.
Use of the medical records will enable us to determine stage of illness at diagnosis, time interval between diagnosis and treatment, and the proportion of patients who defaulted treatment and finished the recommended chemotherapy regimen.

About Sam
Sam graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities in 2009 with a B.S. in Microbiology and minor in French. He graduated with an MPH in Epidemiology and a Certificate in Global Health at the University of Michigan School of Public Health in 2013.