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Factors Associated with Delay in Breast Cancer Presentation at the Only Oncology Center in North East Ethiopia: A Cross-Sectional Study

Authors Hassen AM, Hussien FM, Asfaw ZA, Assen HE

Received 10 January 2021

Accepted for publication 8 March 2021

Published 19 March 2021 Volume 2021:14 Pages 681—694


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Scott Fraser

Anissa Mohammed Hassen,1 Foziya Mohammed Hussien,1 Zinet Abegaz Asfaw,1 Hussien Endris Assen2

1Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wollo University, Dessie, Ethiopia; 2Department of Anesthesia and Critical Care, College of Medicine and Health Science, University of Gondar, Gondar, Ethiopia

Correspondence: Anissa Mohammed Hassen
Department of Public Health, School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Science, Wollo University, PO Box 342, Dessie, Ethiopia
Tel +251 921257471
Email [email protected]

Background: Female breast cancer is becoming an emerging public health problem which accounts for 33% of all cancers in women and 23% of all cancer cases in Ethiopia. The majority of women with breast cancer are diagnosed at later stages due to delayed presentation to seek treatment.
Objective: To determine the prevalence and factors associated with patient delay at presentation among breast cancer patients at Dessie Referral Hospital, the only oncology center in North East Ethiopia.
Methods: We conducted an institution-based cross-sectional study among 204 female patients with pathology-confirmed breast cancer at the only oncology center of North East Ethiopia from January to June 2020. An interviewer administered questionnaire and a medical record data extraction tool were used to address the objective of the study. Patients were said to be delayed for diagnosis if the time duration between first clinical presentations to first clinical consultation was more than 3 months. Then, bivariable and multivariable logistic regression was employed to analyze the association between dependent and independent variables.
Results: Among a total of 209 eligible participants, 5 refused to participate with a response rate of 97.6%. The proportion of patients with delayed presentation was 103 (50.5%), with the median time taken to visit a healthcare provider after recognition of the first symptom was 4 months. Age above 40 years (AOR=4.81; 95% CI=1.26– 18.65) P< 0.024, college and above educational status (AOR=0.05; 95% CI=0.01– 0.77) p< 0.036, government employee (AOR=0.19, 95% CI=0.03– 0.91) P< 0.002, urban residence (AOR= 0.21; 95% CI=0.01– 0.82) p< 0.001, visit traditional healer (AOR=0.38; 95% CI=0.2– 0.69) P< 0.0037, and no lump in under armpit (AOR= 9.05; 95% CI=1.14– 22.69) P< 0.002 were associated with delayed presentation.
Conclusion: Delays to seek treatment is generally high in our study. Age, educational status, occupation, residence, visiting traditional healer, and absence of lump in under armpit were significant factors for delayed presentation. Intervention programs focusing on reducing delayed presentation should be employed.

Keywords: breast cancer, delayed presentation, North East Ethiopia

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