A retrospective study of the patients registered during 1997 aiming the time taken by the patients from theirstarting day of symptoms of cancer to reporting i.e. duration of symptoms at Chittaranjan National Cancer Institute(CNCI) a regional cancer institute in Eastern India. During 1997 a total of 3628 cancer patients registered at CNCI.Out of these, 716(19.74%) could not remember the duration of symptoms of their diseases at the time of first reporting.For this reason only the remaining 2912 cases were considered in the present study. Only 83(2.85%) reported withinone month of the initial onset of symptoms. The vast majority of patients, a toal of 2829 (97.15%), appeared athospital after several months, contributing to a moderate to advanced stage of their disease at first contact. Thiswould clearly be expected to lead to poor success in treatment. Late reporting by the patients is most probably dueto lack of awareness about the symptoms of cancer. The patients were from rural, semi-urban and urban populations.Measures of association showed significant links between the place of residence (p<0.55), age (p<0.001), sex (p<0.001),general health condition of the patients at first contact (p<0.052), the economic status (p<0.51) and the treatmentcompliance (p<0.26) with the duration of symptoms. Tumours of some primary sites like the cervix, breast (female),oral cavity, thyroid and penis, for which treatment responses are good to very good in early stages were also considered.For these primary sites, statistical measures showed late reporting by the patients which resulted in poor treatmentcompliance as well as a poor treatment response.