Mustafa Majid1; Mohammed Tareq Mutar; Sara Shihab Ahmad; Hala Omar; Ali mohammed Hadi; Mays Yas
1Baghdad University College Of Medicine, Baghdad, Iraq.
In Iraq, breast cancer represents the leading cause of cancer-related mortality among women and represents 19% of all cancers. There is a tendency for patients with breast cancer to present with later stages of disease, as 46% of patients in Iraq present at stage III or IV. This study aimed to assess the prevalence of delays in Iraq in presentation and management of breast cancer, and the association of these delays with sociodemographic, patient-related, and clinical factors; no previous data were found on this topic in the literature.
Materials and Methods
A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted in a national center of cancer and oncology teaching hospital in 2019. Using convenience sampling, 120 female patients were selected then interviewed by the authors. For ease of acquisition, data were collected from patients using the Quick tap survey application and analyzed with SPSS Statistics, version 24 (IBM). Chi-square tests for significance and associations were used, with a P value less than .05 considered significant.
Delay in consultation was most often cited (29.3%) vs the other delays (diagnosis, surgery, and chemotherapy delays). About half of patients (50.9%) had not been aware that their symptoms could be related to cancer and 42.2% were afraid to know what their symptoms meant. Less than 20% of patients attributed their delay to faulty medical diagnosis, inappropriate biopsy, or surgery. Only 20.7% had performed breast self-examination, which had a significant association with diagnosis delay (P = .018).
These study results reveal that delay in seeking consultation is the most common cause of delayed presentation of patients with breast cancer. In Iraq, it is important and necessary to spread awareness about breast self-examination, the nature of possible symptoms, and seeking medical advice, and to publicize how all of these can affect disease prognosis.