Factors leading to late reporting of breast cancer patients for diagnosis and treatment at Uganda Cancer Institute, Mulago.
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Back ground. Delay in seeking proper diagnosis and treatment in breast cancer patient’s leads to an increased morbidity and mortality. Objective of the study. The aim of this study was therefore to identify the factors leading to late reporting of breast cancer patients for diagnosis and treatment at the Uganda cancer institute, Mulago. Method: An exploratory qualitative study using a non-probability consecutive sampling technique 146 female breast cancer patients at the wards of Uganda Cancer Institute, Mulago was employed. In depth individual interviews were conducted by the investigators where open ended interview questions were asked by the investigators and views from the different participants were recorded. Results. The socio demographic characteristics included age, marital status, employment status, level of education, place of residence. 97.9% of participants had an understanding of what breast cancer is and 52.7% had an understood of what self-breast examination is. The main presenting symptom was breast lump (68.5%), followed by breast pain (15.0%), a lump in the axilla (7.6%), nipple discharge (5.5%) and ulcer wound (3.4%). Fear for disfigurement, financial constraints, preference for traditional / herbal medicine and religious beliefs were the main factors responsible for the late delay of reporting for diagnosis and treatment. Conclusions. Socio-demographic factors including marital status, age and employment status has a significant impact on delay in seeking timely diagnosis and treatment of patients with breast cancer. Patient delay was also still observed despite the vast level of knowledge about cancer. Fear of disfigurement, financial constraints, hesitation, anxiety and stress, preference for traditional and herbal medicine, false perception about cancer contributed highly to eh delay of patients delay. Recommendation. Funding of breast cancer diagnosis and treatment should be increased to minimize the treatment costs to the patients to near zero.
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