Reasons for Patient’s Delay in Diagnosis of Breast Carcinoma in Pakistan


Background: Delay in diagnosis of breast cancer is associated with a poorer survival and a pivotal contributionto this delayed diagnosis comes from patient delay in presenting at a clinic. Reasons involved must be evaluatedin order to decrease this reducible delay.
Objectives: i) To evaluate the reasons for patient delay in diagnosis ofbreast cancer; ii) to investigate any association with other variables. Materials and
Methods: A 6 month crosssectional study (from July 2012 to Dec 2012), was carried out in Surgical and Oncology Units of Civil Hospital,Karachi. A total of 100 females diagnosed with breast cancer of any histological type were interviewed afterinformed consent and relevant data were collected. Due ethical clearance was obtained.
Results: Mean age was47.5±12.1 years with a range from 25-77 years. Mean duration of delay was 5.13±4.8 months, from shortest 1month to longest 36 months. Duration of delay was observed to be no delay (<1 month) in 28%, short delay (1-3months) in 30% and long delay (>3 months) in 42% of patients. Considering the symptoms as “harmless” (39%)was the most frequent reason of delay followed by “temporary” (20%) and the “use of traditional methods”(12%). Most common reason for later approaches was an increase in the size of the lump (41%). Statisticallysignificant association (p-value <0.05) of longer patient delay was obtained with being single, being illiterate,painless breast lump as the first symptom, negative family history of breast cancer and vague attribution of thesymptoms.
Conclusions: Significant delay in approach to health care facility was observed in our study due tovariable reasons given by women. Sufficient awareness regarding breast cancer, its symptoms and favorableeffects of a timely diagnosis on prognosis must be imparted to our general population.