Reasons for Patient's Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma in Pakistan

  • Published : 2013.12.31


Background: Delay in diagnosis of breast cancer is associated with a poorer survival and a pivotal contribution to this delayed diagnosis comes from patient delay in presenting at a clinic. Reasons involved must be evaluated in order to decrease this reducible delay. Objectives: i) To evaluate the reasons for patient delay in diagnosis of breast cancer; ii) to investigate any association with other variables. Materials and Methods: A 6 month cross sectional study (from July 2012 to Dec 2012), was carried out in Surgical and Oncology Units of Civil Hospital, Karachi. A total of 100 females diagnosed with breast cancer of any histological type were interviewed after informed consent and relevant data were collected. Due ethical clearance was obtained. Results: Mean age was $47.5{\pm}12.1$ years with a range from 25-77 years. Mean duration of delay was $5.13{\pm}4.8$ months, from shortest 1 month to longest 36 months. Duration of delay was observed to be no delay (<1 month) in 28%, short delay (1-3 months) in 30% and long delay (>3 months) in 42% of patients. Considering the symptoms as "harmless" (39%) was the most frequent reason of delay followed by "temporary" (20%) and the "use of traditional methods" (12%). Most common reason for later approaches was an increase in the size of the lump (41%). Statistically significant association (p-value <0.05) of longer patient delay was obtained with being single, being illiterate, painless breast lump as the first symptom, negative family history of breast cancer and vague attribution of the symptoms. Conclusions: Significant delay in approach to health care facility was observed in our study due to variable reasons given by women. Sufficient awareness regarding breast cancer, its symptoms and favorable effects of a timely diagnosis on prognosis must be imparted to our general population.


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