PURPOSE: By 2025, Kenya is estimated to experience a two-thirds increase in the incidence of breast cancer. Local research is necessary to generate evidence to inform policy, public health, and medical practice. There have been no longitudinal cohort studies in sub-Saharan Africa of women with and without breast cancer. Our aim is to assess the feasibility of conducting cohort studies in Kenya that consider clinical characteristics, socioeconomic factors, and self-care behaviors.
METHODS: We initiated a short-term follow-up cohort study of women with and without a diagnosis of breast cancer with baseline face-to-face data collection and one follow-up interview (at approximately 3 months by telephone). We developed tailored instruments to capture demographics, socioeconomic factors, breast cancer risk, ability to identify breast cancer symptoms, treatments received for breast cancer, and quality of life of survivors.
RESULTS: We recruited 800 women between the ages of 20 and 60 years and successfully collected baseline data. Completeness of the data was high for demographic variables, but there was a larger proportion of missing information for specific variables required for assessing breast cancer risk. Respondents were able to complete standardized instruments to assess breast cancer knowledge among those without breast cancer and identification of symptoms among survivors. We were able to successfully contact approximately 80% of the participants for follow-up.
CONCLUSION: This short-term follow-up study provides evidence that women can be successfully tracked and contacted for follow-up in the Kenyan setting and offers lessons to establish future longitudinal cohorts to identify approaches to improve breast cancer outcomes.