Background: Health behaviour models are continuously being developed to investigate patient delay and help seeking behaviour for breast cancer. Their fitness for generalisation to another setting has not been examined and little is known of their appropriateness for use.
Methods: The models’ building blocks (theories, concepts,constructs and variables) and settings were systematically examined and compared.
Results: Six models of patient delay and help seeking for breast cancer were developed in a period of seven years (2003-2010). Theories of individual and interpersonal health behaviour, and various combinations of concepts and constructs were used to build these models. There is a lack of consensus in the terminology used to define constructs and variables. Constructs and variables together explained some of the variance of patient delay and help seeking.
Conclusion: Existing patient delay and help seeking models for breast cancer were tested and yielded some degree of confirmation of their ability in explaining delayed presentation and help seeking behaviour. More models are likely to be developed in the future to account for factors currently missing in the existing models. To ease this process, there is a need for greater consensus and a shared conceptual language, as well as to advance knowledge a nd research in this field.