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ImportanceBreast cancer (BC) is the leading cancer among women in Namibia. Examining the BC journey in this multiracial country where inequalities remain large is needed to inform effective interventions to reduce BC mortality.ObjectiveTo describe the entire BC journey of Namibian women by race, utilizing the World Health Organization Global Breast Cancer Initiative (GBCI) framework.Design, setting, and participantsThis cohort study used the Namibian subset of the African Breast Cancer-Disparities in Outcomes prospective cohort. Participants were all Namibian residents with confirmed incident BC who presented at the main national public oncology center of the Windhoek Central Hospital (WCH). Follow-up started from recruitment (September 8, 2014, to October 5, 2016) and ended up to 3 years after diagnosis (December 13, 2014, to September 27, 2019). Data analysis was conducted from June 2022 to August 2023.ExposuresParticipants' self-reported ethnicities were aggregated into 3 population groups: Black, mixed ancestry, and White.Main outcomes and measuresThree-year overall survival (OS) was examined using Cox models, and summary statistics were used to describe women's BC journey, including GBCI pillar key performance indicators: (1) early stage (TNM I or II) diagnosis (population benchmark ≥60%), (2) prompt diagnosis, ie, 60 days or less to first health care practitioner visit (population benchmark 100%), and (3) completion of recommended multimodal treatment (MT, ie, surgery plus chemotherapy) (population benchmark ≥80%).ResultsOf 405 women, there were 300 (74%) Black (mean [SD] age, 53 [15] years), 49 (12%) mixed ancestry (mean [SD] age, 53 [7] years), and 56 (14%) White (mean [SD] age, 59 [12] years) patients. Three-year OS was lowest in Black women (60% [95% CI, 54%-66%]; mixed ancestry: 80% [95% CI, 65%-89%]; White: 89% [95% CI, 77%-95%]), who had lower prevalence of early stage diagnosis (Black: 37% [95% CI, 31%-42%]; mixed ancestry and White: 75% [95% CI, 66%-83%]) and timely diagnosis (Black: 60% [95% CI, 54%-66%]; mixed ancestry and White: 77% [95% CI, 69%-85%]), while MT completion (Black: 53% [95% CI, 46%-59%]; mixed ancestry and White: 63% [95% CI, 50%-73%]) was low in all women.Conclusions and relevanceIn this cohort study of 405 Namibian residents with BC, marked racial disparities in survival were paralleled by inequities all along the BC journey. To improve BC survival, interventions are needed to promote earlier diagnosis in Black Namibian women and to increase MT initiation and completion in all women.

Original publication





JAMA network open

Publication Date





International Agency for Research on Cancer, Environment and Lifestyle Epidemiology Branch, Lyon, France.


Humans, Breast Neoplasms, Cohort Studies, Prospective Studies, Middle Aged, Namibia, Female, Early Detection of Cancer