Human error causing inappropriate management of Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer, Literature Review and Experience in Niger Delta University Teaching hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.

Fente BG1*, Koroye O1, Baribote SO1

1Department of Surgery, Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria.
*Correspondence: Prof. Fente, Beleudanyo Gbalipre; +234 803 313 2866;

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Background: Breast cancer is the commonest cancer in women in Nigeria. Pregnancy Associated Breast Cancer (PABC) is breast cancer occurring in pregnancy up to one year after delivery. Due to some misconceptions, mistakes occur in the management of these patients leading to poor outcomes. There may be difficulties in the diagnosis of PABC due to the clinical features being mistaken for the normal physiologic changes of pregnancy. The physiologic changes may interfere with radiological and pathological interpretations. Fine needle aspiration cytology (FNAC) or a trucut biopsy confirms the diagnosis. There have been debates on maternal versus foetal wellbeing in PABC. Chemotherapy is safe after 10 weeks of pregnancy when organogenesis is complete. Delaying chemotherapy till after pregnancy worsens the prognosis. Hormonal treatment is contraindicated in PABC.
Method: This is a retrospective observational study of cases of PABC at the Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria, from January 2019 to January 2021
Result: Seven cases were seen with ages ranging from 28 to 37. All patients presented with breast lumps. Diagnosis was by FNAC and trucut biopsy. None of the patients received care for the cancer during pregnancy as they were advised by their doctors not to and to present after delivery due to the perceived harmful effects of treatment on the foetus. All seven patients presented with advanced stage disease after delivery. They all received chemotherapy and hormonal therapy. Eventually all patients were lost to follow up
Conclusion: Patients diagnosed with PABC in peripheral hospitals should be referred for specialist care. Treatment modalities like surgery and chemotherapy are feasible in PABC and should not be unduly delayed. Continuing education on the topic and feedback to colleagues at peripheral hospitals should be ensured.

Keywords: Breast Cancer, Pregnancy, Pregnancy-associated Breast Cancer, Human error, Inappropriate treatment.

Cite this article: Fente BG, Koroye O, Baribote SO. Human error causing inappropriate management of pregnancy-associated breast cancer, literature review and experience in Niger Delta University Teaching Hospital, Okolobiri, Bayelsa State, Nigeria. Yen Med J. 2022;4(1):1–5.


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