The Pattern of Breast Diseases at Kenyatta National Hospital

Author Information

E.S. Otieno, MBChB, MMed (Surg), PGDRM (UoN), Lecturer, Department of Medical Physiology, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi, S.K. Kimende MBChB, MMed (Surg), Lecturer, Department of Surgery, College of Health Sciences, University of Nairobi and J. Micheni, MBChB. MMed (Surg), Consultant Surgeon, Kenyatta National Hospital.

Corresponding author:

Dr. E.S. Otieno, P. O. Box 30197-00100, Nairobi, Kenya, Email:


Objective: To determine the pattern of breast diseases. Design: Retrospective descriptive study.

Setting: Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH), a University Teaching and National Referral Hospital.

Patients: One thousand one hundred and seventy two patients records were reviewed.

Results: An average 469 new patients per year or 11 new patients per clinic visit were reviewed over a two and a half year period. Females predominated (98.9%). The mean age of the patients was 34.71 years (range 1 to 96 years). The average age at menarche was 14.49 years and the mean duration of symptoms was 6.86 months. Only 2.6% of 843 patients had a positive family history of breast disease. Fibroadenoma was the commonest diagnosis made (33.2%) followed by ductal carcinoma (19.7%). Gynaecomastia was the most common lesion seen in males. Two thirds of patients presenting with lumps had masses measuring more than 5cm. Overall, five conditions (fibroadenoma, ductal carcinoma, breast abscesses, fibrocystic disease and mastalgia) accounted for over 85% of all breast ailments. Surgery formed the mainstay of care in over 80% of patients.

Conclusions: The pattern of breast diseases at KNH closely mirrors those reported in literature. This study indicates that a large proportion of patients presenting with breast diseases are treated initially by surgery. It may be wise to consider other alternative forms of therapy where appropriate.


The Annals of African Surgery is the official publication of the Surgical Society of Kenya.


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