Causes of Delay in Seeking Treatment in Patients with Breast Cancer in Iran: a Qualitative Content Analysis Study


Background: In the Middle East, including Iran, breast cancer is the most frequent malignancy among women.Without treatment, a malignant breast tumor advances in stage, diminishing a woman’s chances of survival. Inthis study we aimed to gain insight into the causes of delay in seeking treatment in patients with breast cancer.
Methods: The participants in this qualitative, content analysis study were 10 women in whom a diagnosis ofbreast cancer in the stages of II b, III or IIV had been made. They were selected from patients of a major oncologyclinic in Kerman, Iran. Data were collected by means of semi-structured interviews that lasted between 20 to30 minutes. Sampling was discontinued when data saturation was achieved. Content analysis was conductedby classifying the data into themes and sub-themes.
Results: The results of our study revealed several factorsthat interfered with patients’ professional consultation seeking and prompt treatment. These factors included;lack of knowledge, fear of being diagnosed with cancer, not seeing oneself at risk, mental preoccupation andwrong diagnosis by physicians.
Conclusions: This study suggests that women and even physicians need furtherinformation about breast cancer symptoms. Women need encouragement to seek medical advice when theyencounter suspicious symptoms. Additionally, women may benefit from awareness of the pros of early detectionand reassurance about the improvements in the success of breast cancer treatment.