Understanding delayed presentation among people diagnosed with cancer in Zimbabwe: a phenomenological view
Globally, late presentation with advanced disease among people diagnosed with cancer is a major concern to oncology, to government health ministries and to cancer service organisations. The phenomenon is thought to be more pronounced in Sub Saharan Africa. This paper draws from a wider phenomenological study on the lived experience of selected people diagnosed with cancer in rural and urban Zimbabwe. It sought to identify and examine the interplay of factors which results in late presentation for a cancer diagnosis and for treatment. A total of 30 adult participants diagnosed with cancer and 5 key informants took part in the study. Semi structured interviews, focus group discussions and key informant interviews were used as tools for data collection. Key results indicated pronounced late presentation due to low levels of basic knowledge of cancer symptoms by both clients and health care professionals, widespread consultation of traditional health practitioners before and after a diagnosis, financial handicaps and varying symptom interpretation. These results are crucial for nursing and clinical practice, for educational programming and for people who provide care and support to people with cancer.
Keywords: Advanced Disease; Cancer Diagnosis; Late Presentation; Lived Experience Phenomenological Study