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Factors Associated with Late Diagnosis of Cervical Cancer in Nepal

  • Gyenwali, Deepak (Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University) ;
  • Pariyar, Jitendra (Gynecologic Oncology Unit, BP Koirala Memorial Cancer Hospital) ;
  • Onta, Sharad Raj (Department of Community Medicine and Public Health, Institute of Medicine, Tribhuvan University)
  • Published : 2013.07.30

Abstract

Background: The majority of cervical cancers, the most prevalent cancer among Nepali women, are diagnosed in advanced stage leading to high mortality in Nepal. The present study explored factors associated with late diagnosis. Materials and Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in two specialized cancer hospitals of Nepal from August 12 to October 12, 2012. Randomly selected 110 cervical cancer patients were interviewed and their medical records were reviewed. Multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to predict associations. Results: Mean age of patients was 52.7years (SD=10.6), 66% were illiterate and 77% were rural inhabitants. Medical shops (33.6%) and private hospitals (31%) were major first contact points of patients with health care providers (HCP). There was no cervical/per-speculum examination (78.2%) and symptoms misinterpretation (90%) of patients occurred in initial consultation with HCP. Four in every five cases (80.9%) of cervical cancer had late diagnosis. Literate women (adjusted OR=0.121, CI: 0.030-0.482) and women having abnormal vaginal bleeding as early symptom (adjusted OR=0.160, CI: 0.035-0.741) were less likely to suffer late diagnosis. Women who shared their symptoms late (adjusted OR=4.272, CI: 1.110-16.440) and did so with people other than their husband (adjusted OR=12.701, CI: 1.132-142.55) were more likely for late diagnosis. Conclusions: High level of illiteracy among women and their problematic health seeking behavior for gynecological symptoms are responsible for late diagnosis of cervical cancer in Nepal. In the absence of a routine screening program, prevention interventions should be focused on raising awareness of gynecological symptoms and improving health seeking behavior of women for such symptoms.

Keywords

Cervical cancer;symptoms;health care provider;health seeking behavior;late diagnosis;Nepal

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