Hong Kong Med J 2010;16:373–7 | Number 5, October 2010
Delayed presentation of symptomatic breast cancers in Hong Kong: experience in a public cancer centre
TK Yau, CW Choi, Esther Ng, Rebecca Yeung, Inda S Soong, Anne WM Lee
Department of Clinical Oncology, Pamela Youde Nethersole Eastern Hospital, Chai Wan, Hong Kong
OBJECTIVE. Delayed presentation is an important obstacle to improving cancer treatment outcomes. We aimed to study the magnitude of this problem in Hong Kong and the factors associated with delayed presentation of patients with symptomatic breast cancers.
DESIGN. Retrospective study using self-administered questionnaires.
SETTING. Clinical Oncology Department in a regional public hospital in Hong Kong.
PATIENTS. A total of 158 Chinese women with breast cancer referred to our hospital between October 2006 and December 2007 consented to participate in this study. Among these, 59 (37%) patients were referred after having surgery in private sector.
RESULTS. The mean total delay (from first symptom to treatment) was 22 weeks. The mean patient delay (from first symptom to first consultation) was 13 weeks, constituting the largest component (60%) of the total delay. After symptom onset, the delay exceeded 12 weeks for consulting a doctor in 29%, and for receipt of treatment in 52% of them. Low family income (
CONCLUSIONS. Delayed presentation and treatment of symptomatic breast cancer remains an important issue in Hong Kong. Apart from socio-economic factors, limited access to public medical care was likely an important contributing factor in delays related to patients as well as to doctor/system.
Key words: Breast neoplasms; Socioeconomic factors; Prognosis; Signs and symptoms; Time factors
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