Breast cancer survivors to take part in Kenya’s first-ever study of patient journey

Kenya breast cancer survivors will be involved in the first-ever patient journey study in sub-Saharan Africa, being undertaken by drugs manufacturer Roche.

The study design for the breast cancer patient journey were presented at the African Organisation for Research and Training in Cancer congress in Kigali, Rwanda, on Thursday.

The study aims to describe the typical patient journey, as well as to assess resource use, cost, and other hurdles influencing patient care in public and private hospitals in Kenya, Nigeria and Ghana.

“The data will provide insight into the challenges of addressing the full spectrum of breast cancer patient care in the region, and help identify what solutions are needed at multiple points in the patient journey,” the firm said in a statement.

Breast cancer remains the leading cause of cancer death among women worldwide.

The burden disproportionately affects African countries with five-year survival rates as low as 12 per cent in parts of Africa, compared with almost 90 per cent in the United States, Australia and Canada.

In addition, as many as 80 per cent of patients in sub saharan Africa are diagnosed with late-to-end stage disease when little can be achieved in terms of curative treatment.

Roche said the study will assess delays to patient care, including the delays to initiating standard of care testing like mammography, MRI, ER, HER2 and chest x-ray.

It will also assess the delays in receiving these test results, as well as delays to initiation of standard of care treatment.

“We believe that patients in sub-Saharan Africa deserve the same treatment as everyone else,” said Markus Gemuend, Roches head of Sub-Saharan Africa. “When we work with partners with a genuine will to make a difference for patients is when real impact can happen.”

Notably, the study will also assess direct cost to patients, including how many pay for their cancer care out of pocket and how many are unable to complete treatment for cost reasons.

“The study is a retrospective chart review conducted in three public and three private hospitals in each country, including Ghana, Kenya and Nigeria. The study aims to obtain a comprehensive two-year sample of up to 1000 anonymised patient records across all study sites,” Roche said.

In Kenya, the firm has a partnership with the Kenya Ministry of Health which includes a comprehensive access program that now supports women with access to breast cancer care.

The program includes screening, state-of-the art diagnostics, healthcare infrastructure building, including the training of new oncologists and oncology nurses, and access to innovative medicine for breast cancer – all free of charge to the patient. A similar program in Sudan has also commenced.

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