Factors Associated With Waiting Time for Breast Cancer Treatment in a Teaching Hospital in Ghana

Florence Dedey, Lily Wu, Hannah Ayettey, Olutobi A. Sanuade, Titilola S. Akingbola, Sandra A. Hewlett, Bamidele O. Tayo, Helen V. Cole, Ama de-Graft Aikins, Gbenga Ogedegbe, Richard Adanu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background. Breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among women in Ghana. Data are limited on the predictors of poor outcomes in breast cancer patients in low-income countries; however, prolonged waiting time has been implicated. Among breast cancer patients who received treatment at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, this study evaluated duration and factors that influenced waiting time from first presentation to start of definitive treatment. Method. We conducted a hospital-based retrospective study of 205 breast cancer patients starting definitive treatment at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital between May and December 2013. We used descriptive statistics to summarize patient characteristics. Mann–Whitney U and Kruskal–Wallis tests and Spearman rank correlation were performed to examine the patients, health system, and health worker factors associated with median waiting time. Poisson regression was used to examine the determinants of waiting time. Results. The mean age of the patients was 51.1 ± 11.8 years. The median waiting time was 5 weeks. The determinants of waiting time were level of education, age, income, marital status, ethnicity, disease stage, health insurance status, study sites, time interval between when biopsy was requested and when results were received and receipt of adequate information from health workers. Conclusion. A prolonged waiting time to treatment occurs for breast cancer patients in Ghana, particularly for older patients, those with minimal or no education, with lower income, single patients, those with late disease, those who are insured, and who did not receive adequate information from the health workers. Time to obtain biopsy reports should be shortened. Patients and providers need education on timely treatment to improve prognosis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)420-427
Number of pages8
JournalHealth Education and Behavior
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


  • Ghana
  • breast cancer
  • health system factors
  • patient factors
  • waiting time

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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