Quantifying the under-estimation of cervical Cancer in remote regions of Tanzania

Mariah P. Gesink, Robert M. Chamberlain, Julius Mwaiselage, Crispin Kahesa, Kahima Jackson, William Mueller, Jane L. Meza, Amr S. Soliman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Background: Cervical cancer is the most common cancer among women in Sub-Saharan countries, including Tanzania. While early detection and diagnosis are available in some parts of this large country, radiotherapy has been only available at the Ocean Road Cancer Institute (ORCI), in the capital city of Dar es Salaam and is just starting in a few regions. Methods: The objective of this study was to compare the observed incidence of cervical cancer for the two remote regions of Mwanza in western Tanzania and Mbeya in southern Tanzania, based on their patients treated at the ORCI from 2011 to 2014. Results: The number patients referred and treated at ORCI were (120 from Mwanza, and 171 from Mbeya, representing 24.6 and 32.8% of the patients histopathologically confirmed in the two sites, respectively. The results showed significant underestimation of cervical cancer in the two regions. The vast majority of patients who were histopathologically-confirmed in their local regions (73.92% from Mwanza and 65.1% from Mbeya), but did not receive the needed radiotherapy treatment at the ORCI. The estimated incidence for the two regions based on the number of patients treated at the ORCI were underestimated by 53.9% for Mwanza and 68.9% for Mbeya. Conclusions: Local establishment of radiotherapy treatment facilities in remote regions in Tanzania and similar other low-income countries is essential for providing effective treatment and improving survival of diagnosed cervical cancer patients. Linkage between the records of local remote hospitals and the main cancer treatment center in the capital city can also help support the emerging the population-based cancer registry at ORCI.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number939
JournalBMC cancer
Issue number1
StatePublished - Sep 30 2020


  • Cervical cancer
  • Epidemiology
  • Expected
  • Incidence
  • Observed
  • Tanzania

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Genetics
  • Cancer Research


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