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Background: Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer affecting women in the Bahamas, which consists of many islands. This is the first attempt to identify which island has the highest occurrence of breast cancer.
Objective: The aim of this study was to describe the sociodemographical and spatial features of breast cancer in the Bahamas in 2009–2011.
Methods: A review of the medical records of all women with a confirmed diagnosis of breast cancer during the period January 1, 2009–December 31, 2011, was undertaken. Data were first obtained from the National Oncology Board of the Bahamas and validated by a review of the medical records. The patient address was geocoded and mapped using ArcGIS 10.0 Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI) to satellite images obtained from The Nature Conservancy in the Bahamas.
Results: We recruited 270 patients who satisfied the entry criteria. The cumulative incidences of breast cancer for the years 2009–2011 were 51.4, 45.4, and 51.4, respectively. Breast cancer occurred most often in women of African origin with a mean age at diagnosis of 56.6 ± 13.8 years. Ductal carcinoma was the most common histological type observed with most cancers occurring in Grade II or higher and presenting as late stage (≥ Stage II). Surgery was the preferred method of treatment with modified radical mastectomy being the procedure of choice. Spatial distribution of cases across the Bahamas revealed one cluster, which is present on the island of New Providence. Further analysis of New Providence showed a consistently skewed kernel density in the central and eastern regions, compared with a scattered distribution in the southern and western regions.
Conclusion: The island of New Providence had the highest occurrence of breast cancer among all the islands of the Bahamas. The increasing incidence of breast cancer in young women is likely to impose a significant burden on the future of Bahamian health care.
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