Breast Cancer:Factors in Bamako (Mali)

ABSTRACT: Breast cancer: factors influencing the therapeutic itinerary of patients in a medical oncology unit in Bamako [Mali]

Early therapy is a determining factor to the recovery in patients with breast cancer. The situation in Mali is characterized by the delayed diagnosis of this cancer which raises the hypothesis that medical itinerary of patients received in specialized oncology unit is particular.

In order to verify this hypothesis, 44 patients including 43 women and one man aged 25 to 80 years (mean age 46.0 +- 19.6 years), seen in medical oncology unit in Point G, were subjects of an interview about the motivation of their therapeutic itinerary. 22.7% was initially seen by a traditional physician and 77.3% by a health care professional.

The request of care was influenced by the patient's representation of the disease and by their neighboring. The therapeutic itinerary: "from traditional medicine to conventional medicine" was the more frequently observed in our patients with a long delay between the first consultation and the specialized one.

Very few patients have received information about their illness before their specialized consultation. We conclude that the medical itinerary of our patients is particular, that this itinerary is influenced by the patient's representation of the cancer and by difficulty in the relationship between patients and health professional.

This raises questions about the quality of both the communication and the provided health care.

So, health care for patients with breast cancer in Mali might widely consider the anthropological dimension of the disease.

[04/11/2002; Bulletin du Cancer]

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