Document Type: Research Articles
Department of Community Medicine, Ramaiah Medical College, Bengaluru, India.
Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, India.
Finnish Cancer Registry, Finland.
Background: India had the burden of 97,000 new cases of cervical cancer with 60,000 deaths accounting nearly one-third of global cervical cancer deaths during the year 2018. Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer mortality in India. The present study aims to estimate the time interval between self-detection of cervical cancer symptoms and seeking care and different barriers for the possible time lag in seeking care. Methods: A cross-sectional study was undertaken from April 2017 to September 2017 in a regional cancer centre in the south of India. The centre has both a population and a hospital-based cancer registry. Cervical cancer cases (N= 210) with histological confirmation were interviewed at the hospital using a pre-tested semi-structured questionnaire. Results: The median time interval between the self-detection of cervical cancer symptoms and first contact with the general physician was 80 [IQR 45-150] days. The overall median time interval between the self-detection of symptoms to the initiation of primary treatment was 123[IQR 83-205] days. The major perceived reason for not seeking medical care was a lack of awareness in identifying cervical cancer symptoms in 183(92.9%) women. Conclusion: The median time of 80 days was observed from the self-detection of cervical cancer symptoms to the first contact with a general physician. Lack of awareness of patients pertaining to cancer symptoms was the major concern in seeking cancer care.