Breast Cancer Research and Treatment

, Volume 151, Issue 1, pp 177–182 | Cite as

No difference in the prevalence of benign breast changes between women from Ghana and Norway: an autopsy study

  • Helge Stalsberg
  • Ernest Kwasi Adjei
  • Osei Owusu-Afriyie


Breast carcinoma develops gradually through multiple steps, some of which are recognizable as benign or premalignant histological changes. The age-standardized breast-cancer incidence rate is three times higher in Norway than in Ghana. A similar difference in the prevalence of benign and premalignant breast changes in the general populations would be expected if the difference in incidence rates were mainly due to cancer initiation factors, but not if it were caused by later stage promotion and progression factors. Breast tissue was taken by a standardized protocol from the autopsies of 44 Ghanaian and 26 Norwegian women between 15 and 60 years of age. Blind-labelled hematoxylin and eosin stained sections were examined independently by each of the three authors and the occurrence of histological changes in each section was recorded. The study revealed no significant difference between Norwegian and Ghanaian women in the prevalence of either proliferative or non-proliferative breast changes. The recorded incidence of breast cancer in Ghana may be under-estimated because of lower access to health services, lower patient awareness, and absence of population screening for breast cancer. Otherwise, the results support the conclusion that the lower incidence of breast cancer in Ghana than in Norway is mainly due to late-stage promotion and progression rather than initiation factors.


Benign breast disease Prevalence Ghana Norway Autopsy Comparative study 



The study was approved by the Committee on human research, publications and ethics, School of medical sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology, Kumasi, and the Regional committee for medical and health-related research ethics of North Norway.

Conflict of interest

None of the authors have any conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

The performance of the study complies with the current laws of Ghana and Norway.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Clinical PathologyUniversity Hospital of North NorwayTromsøNorway
  2. 2.Department of PathologyKomfo Anokye Teaching HospitalKumasiGhana

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