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Meta-synthesis Exploring Barriers to Health Seeking Behaviour among Malaysian Breast Cancer Patients

  • Yu, Foo Qing (School of Pharmacy, Monash University) ;
  • Murugiah, Muthu Kumar (Pharmacy Enforcement Branch, Penang State Health Department, University Sains Malaysia) ;
  • Khan, Amer Hayat (School of Pharmaceutical Science, University Sains Malaysia) ;
  • Mehmood, Tahir (School of Pharmacy, Monash University)
  • Published : 2015.02.04

Abstract

Barriers to health seeking constitute a challenging issue in the treatment of breast cancer. The current meta-synthesis aimed to explore common barriers to health seeking among Malaysian breast cancer patients. From the systematic search, nine studies were found meeting the inclusion criteria. Data extraction revealed that health behavior towards breast cancer among Malaysia women was influenced by knowledge, psychological, sociocultural and medical system factors. In terms of knowledge, most of the Malaysian patients were observed to have cursory information and the reliance on the information provided by media was limiting. Among psychological factors, stress and sense of denial were some of the common factors leading to delay in treatment seeking. Family member's advice, cultural beliefs towards traditional care were some of the common sociocultural factors hindering immediate access to advanced medical diagnosis and care. Lastly, the delay in referral was one of the most common health system-related problems highlighted in most of the studies. In conclusion, there is an immediate need to improve the knowledge and understanding of Malaysian women towards breast cancer. Mass media should liaise with the cancer specialists to disseminate accurate and up-to-date information for the readers and audience, helping in modification of cultural beliefs that hinder timing health seeking. However, such intervention will not improve or rectify the health system related barriers to treatment seeking. Therefore, there is an immediate need for resource adjustment and training programs among health professional to improve their competency and professionalism required to develop an efficient health system.

Keywords

Breast cancer;barriers;knowledge;culture;health system;competency;Malaysia

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