Causes of Treatment Abandonment of Pediatric Cancer Patients– Experience in a Regional Cancer Centre in North East India

Document Type: Research Articles

Authors

1 Department of Medical Oncology, Dr.B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, Assam, India.

2 Department of Pathology, Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, Assam, India.

3 Population Based Cancer Registry, National Cancer Registry Programme (ICMR), Dr. B Borooah Cancer Institute, Gopinath Nagar, Guwahati, Assam, India.

Abstract

Introduction: Refusal and abandonment of treatment is often considered as an important reason for poor survival of
pediatric cancer patients in developing and underdeveloped countries. In this study we analyze the factors responsible
for treatment abandonment and refusal in a Regional Cancer Centre (RCC) in North East India. Material and Methods:
All histopathologically or cytologically confirmed cases of childhood cancer from below 15 years of age registered from
1st April, 2010 to 31st March, 2017 were included in this study. Parents or caregivers were interviewed thoroughly and
a questionnaire was filled up for analysis of demographic and socio-economic factors. Modified Kuppuswamy scale
was used to measure socioeconomic status. Results: Of 592 patients 161 (27.1%) abandoned therapy and 23 (3.9%)
refused treatment. Factors associated with abandonment of treatment included: lower risk if residing in urban areas
(Odds ratio [OR] = 0.8333, 95% CI 0.565-1.228; P=0.36) and higher risk with maternal education less than secondary
school (OR = 1.357; 95%CI: 0.553-3.326; P=0.505). Low socioeconomic status and age >5yrs were also associated
with abandonment of treatment. In a binary logistic regression analysis, male sex [Odds Ratio (OR) = 0.701; 95% CI
0.48-1.01; P=0.062] have lowest risk of abandoning treatment with trend to statistical significance. Conclusion: There
is a need for proper definition of the problem of childhood cancer patients so that appropriate policy can be introduced
to improve survival by improving treatment compliance.

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