Objective: This survey aims to elucidate patient and health system related factors leading to delayed diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer in Southeastern Anatolia.
Methods: Hundred patients admitted to Department of General Surgery at Dicle University between December 2012 and July 2014, and diagnosed with breast cancer in preceding 6 months were included in the survey after their consent. The survey has 4 chapters (patient and health system related factors, demographic data, and assessment of cancer stage) and 25 questions.
Results: Fifty-eight percent of patients visited a physician with a 3 months delay after realization of breast cancer symptoms. Only 8% of patients had regular check-ups. Nine percent of patients were suspicious of breast cancer due to the lesion in the breast. 86% of patients did not consider it to be a serious matter. Lack of female physicians cited by 2% as the reason for avoiding doctor’s visit. Seven percent cited lack of knowledge and 23% being scared. Seventy-seven percent were able to get a doctor’s appointment, 82% to get mammography, 78% underwent biopsy in a week. Women between the ages of 30-50 had higher concern about cancer (p<0.05). Women who were illiterate or housewives regarded doctor’s visitation as not a good experience (p<0.05).
Conclusion: Patients’ age and literacy, and efficiency of health system may be contributing factors on the delay of diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer. Cancer awareness should be increased and fear being diagnosed with cancer should be overcome in women between the ages of 30-50 to decrease the delay of diagnoses.