ABSTRACT: Patient delay and stage of diagnosis among breast cancer
patients in Germany - a population based study
Early diagnosis is a tenet in oncology and should enable early
treatment with the expectation of improved outcome. Extent and
determinants of patient delay of diagnosis in breast cancer
patients and its impact on stage of disease were examined in
a population based study among female breast cancer patients in
Two hundred and eighty-seven women, aged 18 to 80 years
with newly diagnosed invasive symptomatic breast cancer, were
interviewed with respect to the diagnostic process.
was defined as time from onset of first symptoms to first
consultation of a doctor. Median patient delay was 16 days among
symptomatic patients. Eighteen per cent of all breast cancer
patients waited longer than 3 months before consulting a
Long patient delay was associated with old age, history
of a benign mastopathy, obesity, and indices of health behaviour
such as not knowing a gynaecologist for out-patient care and
non-participation in general health screening examinations.
strong association between patient delay and stage at diagnosis
was observed for poorly differentiated tumours.
suggest that at risk groups for delaying consultation can be
identified and that a substantial proportion of late stage diagnoses
of poorly differentiated breast cancer cases could be avoided
if all patients with breast cancer symptoms would present to
a doctor within 1 month.
[04/02/2002; British Journal of Cancer]
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