Start Submission

Reading: Delay among women reporting symptoms of Breast cancer


A- A+
Alt. Display

Original Research Articles

Delay among women reporting symptoms of Breast cancer


PBVR Kumari ,

Registrar in Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine, Colombo, LK
X close

CSE Goonewardena

Senior Lecturer in Community Medicine, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenapura, LK
X close


Objective To describe factors related to timing of first contact with an allopathic medical practitioner, among patients with symptoms of breast cancer attending breast clinic at Cancer Institute, Maharagama.

Method A descriptive cross sectional study was conducted among a total of 335 consecutive women who attended the clinic for the first time, during the period of survey. All the patients registered at the breast clinic for the first time were recruited. A pre-tested, interviewer administered questionnaire was used.

Results Thirty eight percent (n=127) of patients had a delay in presentation which was defined as greater than 12 weeks. The mean time duration between experiencing a symptom and in seeking medical care was 11.5 weeks (SD=1.41). Factors significantly related to delayed presentation were age (elderly) [p<0.001], marital status (unmarried, divorced or widowed) [p=0.037], fertility status (women with no children) [p=0.011], ethnicity (Tamils and Muslims) [p= 0.002], an income of less than Rs. 10,000 (p= 0.002), low social class (p<0.001), first symptom not being a lump (p<0.001), a distance of > 5 km from home to medical facility (p=0.003), not attending a well woman clinic (p=0.002), assuming the condition to be a benign one (p<0.001), having undergone any kind of surgery under general anaesthesia (p =0.038) and poor knowledge on breast cancer (p<0.001).

Conclusion Delay in seeking treatment for suspected breast cancer is a problem in Sri Lanka. Women may benefit from greater awareness of the benefits of early detection and expansion of diagnostic and treatment facilities for breast cancer.

Key words: Breast cancer; Symptom; Delay


Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka Vol.16(1) 2011, p17-22

How to Cite: Kumari, P. and Goonewardena, C., 2011. Delay among women reporting symptoms of Breast cancer. Journal of the College of Community Physicians of Sri Lanka, 16(1), pp.17–22. DOI:
Published on 14 Dec 2011.
Peer Reviewed


  • PDF (EN)

    comments powered by Disqus