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Breast cancer patients’ presentation for oncological treatment: a single centre study

Akinbolaji Andrew Akinkuolie
Amarachukwu Chiduziem Etonyeaku
Olalekan Olasehinde
Olukayode Adeolu Arowolo
Rereloluwa Nicodemus Babalola


Introduction: Breast cancer patients are presenting at advanced stages for oncological treatment in Nigeria and World Health Organization predicted developing countries’ breast cancer incidence and mortality to increase by year 2020. Methods: Prospective observational hospital based study that enrolled breast cancer patients from catchment area of an oncology service hospital in Nigeria between 2007 and 2013. Patients’ demographics, breast cancer burden and health care giver presentation variables were analysed for causal factors of seeking medical help and what determines commencement of effective oncological treatment. Results: Forty-six patients were enrolled, 19.6% of them presented primarily to oncologist while 80.4% presented secondarily for oncological treatment. There is a significant difference in presentation time for oncological treatment (t = -3.56, df = 42.90, p = 0.001) between primary (M =11.56 ± 5.21 weeks) and secondary presentation (M= 52.56 ± 10.27weeks) . Tumor burden of those that presented secondarily were significantly more advanced (U = 78.5, p = 0.011) and, univariate analysis reveals that: patients’ matrimonial setting, breast cancer awareness and mode of discovery of breast symptoms are patient related factors that determines their choice of health care providers and, determinant of effective oncological treatment is patient first contact health care provider. Conclusion: Patients’ bio-characteristics that determine their choice of health care provider should be incorporated into community breast cancer sensitization drives. Additionally, there is a need for a government agency assign the task of accrediting and defining scope of enterprise of health care institutions and their health care providers in our pluralist health system.

Pan African Medical Journal 2016; 24