A Pilot Study on Factors Associated with Presentation Delay in Patients Affected with Head and Neck Cancers


Background: Patient delay can contribute to a poor outcome in the management of head and neck cancers(HNC). The main objective of the present study was to investigate the factors associated with patient delay inour population. Materials and
Methods: Patients with cancers of the head and neck attending a regional cancercenter of North East India were consecutively interviewed during the period from June 2014 to November 2014.The participation of patients was voluntary. The questionnaire included information on age, gender, residentialstatus, educational qualification, monthly family income, any family history of cancer, and history of priorawareness on cancer from television (TV) program and awareness program.
Results: Of 311 (n) patients, withan age range of 14-88 years (mean 55.4 years), 81.7% were males and 18.3% females (M:F=4.4). The overallmedian delay was 90 days (range=7 days-365 days), in illiterate patients the median delay was 90 days and 60days in literate patients (P=0.002), the median delay in patients who had watched cancer awareness program onTV was 60 days and in patients who were unaware about cancer information from TV program had a mediandelay of 90 days (p=0.00021) and delay of <10 weeks was seen in 139 (44.6%) patients, a delay of 10-20 weeks in98 (31.5%) patients, and a delay of 20-30 weeks in 63 (20.2%) patients.
Conclusions: Education and awarenesshad a significant impact in reduction of median patient delay in our HNC cases.