Both the incidence of cancer and cancer-related mortality rates are high in sub-Saharan Africa, while resources for diagnosis and management are inadequate. In Benin, there is an extreme shortage of pathology services. Because of this shortage we built a histopathology laboratory equipped with an automated immunohistochemistry and a whole-slide imaging and telepathology system.
To report our experience of telepathology practice in the improvement of cancer diagnosis.
The study was performed in our histopathology laboratory from January 1, 2016, to December 31, 2018. Resident laboratory technicians were trained in the preparation of microscopic and virtual slides by European pathologists. Virtual slides were stored on a Web-accessible server area for reading by 21 telepathologists in Benin and Europe. All patients with a histologic diagnosis of cancer were included in this study. Demographic data of patients, anatomic site of cancer, its histologic type, and its histologic grade were recorded.
We registered 399 patients diagnosed with cancer of 1593 patients whose surgical specimens had been analyzed. There were 349 adults including 160 males and 189 females, and 50 children (both sexes) with a mean age of 53.40 years, 46.92 years, and 9.72 years, respectively. Eighty-three of 211 females (39.34%) had infiltrating breast carcinoma, and 34 of 188 males (18.09%) had prostatic carcinoma. Infiltrating carcinoma of no special type represented 51 (91.07%) of all infiltrating breast carcinomas. Prostatic carcinoma and infiltrating breast carcinoma were of high grade in 13 of 23 males (56.52%) and 34 of 56 females (60.71%), respectively.
Telepathology is enabling a great improvement in cancer diagnosis in our hospital.