Breast cancer is a significant cause of mortality worldwide, with a prevalence that is estimated to be 1,000,000 annually. In African women, the diagnosis is often made between 35 and 45 years of age. This is fifteen years earlier than women in Europe and North America. One study showed the mean age of diagnosis in black patient was 57.6 years with large tumor size compared to 62.6 years in white patients. The overall incidence was lower in black women although for patients younger than 40 years the incidence was higher by 20% in black women. The estimated age standardized rates for breast cancer incidence in sub-Saharan Africa range from 15 to 53 per 100, 000 women, which is lower than what is seen in Western countries. The mortality rate tends to be high among women in sub-Saharan Africa as tumors tend to be very aggressive with short periods of time between the onset of symptoms and diagnosis.
In Ethiopia, there is no national cancer registry and the incidence of the disease is unknown. According to data from the Addis Ababa City Cancer Registry which is hospital based, breast carcinoma was the most frequent malignant neoplasm in 2012 accounting for 34.0% of all cancer cases followed by cervical cancer 15.83% [Addis Ababa City Cancer Registry 2012]. According to the data obtained from referred patients at Radiotherapy center of Tikur Anbesa Specialized Hospital (TASH) between 1997-2006, breast carcinoma were 1369 (19%) of the total cancer. Among these cases, 93% were females with age range of 18-90 years (<45 years, 67% and > 45 years, 33%) and 7% were Males with age range of 25-88 years (<45 years, 34% and > 45 years, 66%) [http://www.globalhealth.]. While the average life expectancy for women in Ethiopia is over 58 years recently, approximately 44% of patients with breast cancer are under the age of 40 [http://www.roche.com].
A study by Gebremedhin and Shamebo  on 68 female breast cancer patients appeared in TASH also showed that 72% of them were premenopausal and 76% had advanced disease (Stages III and IV) at presentation. A study by Tessema ( ) demonstrated the median age of females was 40 years. The median duration of the presenting symptom on admission was nearly 1 year. Invasive ductal carcinoma was the most frequent type. During a short follow-up, 50 (45.9%) of 109 patients were seen with recurrences. Only 4 cases were seen at 5 or more years. A study done in Dare Salaam on 50 patients showed that most patients presented with advanced stage with no single patient in stage I, and the the majority were in stage IIIB. In other parts of the world older women are at high risk, where approximately 77% of the breast cancer occurs in women over 50 years, but this trend is somehow different in Africans where the disease is common at young age. In sub Saharan Africa, the disease is seen commonly in women below 30 years of age.