Patient related factors associated with delayed reporting in oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancer

Mohammad Akram, Shahid Ali Siddiqui, Ahmed Masroor Karimi


Background: Delayed reporting resulting in advanced stage disease is a common problem in Indian cancer patients. This study analysed the impact of various sociodemographic and psychosocial factors on the delayed reporting to Healthcare Professional (HCP) in oral and oropharyngeal cancer patients.

Methods: This cross sectional observational study was conducted using a structured questionnaire. Questionnaire included questions to assess socio‑demographic and psychosocial factors associated with delay. Delay was defined as time intervals of more than 3 month from first symptom recognition to first medical consultation to a HCP. Association of delay with these factors was analyzed using logistic regression analysis.

Results: Final analysis was done on 259 patients. Delay in reporting to HCP was present in 156 (60%) patients. Among sociodemographic factors delayed reporting was highly significant with older age group (P = 0.001), low socioeconomic status (P = 0.02), rural residence (P = 0.026) and with insufficient knowledge of Head and Neck cancer (P = 0.014). Sex and marital status were statistically insignificant factor for delay. Among psychosocial factors attribution of symptoms as minor (P = 0.011), absence of fear (P = <.001) and use of alternate therapy (P = 0.001) were significant factors responsible for delay. Disclosure to other and motivation were statistically insignificant in our study.

Conclusions: The results of this study provide guidance towards interventions to reduce patient delay. Interventions should target the rural, older age group and lower socioeconomic population for educating them and to change their psychosocial behavior for oral and oropharyngeal cancer.

Keywords: Delayed reporting, Indian oral and oropharyngeal cancer patients, socio‑demographic and psychosocial factors

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