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Cancer Epidemiol Biomarkers Prev. 2010 Mar;19(3):640-7. doi: 10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0997. Epub 2010 Mar 3.

Misconceptions about breast lumps and delayed medical presentation in urban breast cancer patients.

Author information

1
Division of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, University of Illinois at Chicago, M/C 923, Chicago, IL 60612, USA. garthr@uic.edu

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Despite current recommendations for women to be screened for breast cancer with mammography every 1 to 2 years, less than half of all newly diagnosed breast cancers are initially detected through screening mammography. Prompt medical attention to a new breast symptom can result in earlier stage at diagnosis, yet many patients delay seeking medical care after becoming aware of a breast symptom.

METHODS:

In a population-based study of breast cancer, we examined factors potentially associated with patient delay in seeking health care for a breast symptom among 436 symptomatic urban breast cancer patients (146 white, 197 black, and 95 Hispanic). Race/ethnicity, socioeconomic status, health care access and utilization, and misconceptions about the meaning of breast lumps were the key independent variables.

RESULTS:

Sixteen percent of patients reported delaying more than 3 months before seeking medical advice about breast symptoms. Misconceptions about breast lumps and lacking a regular provider, health insurance, and recent preventive care were all associated with prolonged patient delay (P < 0.005 for all). Misconceptions were much more common among ethnic minorities and women of lower socioeconomic status.

CONCLUSION:

Reducing patient delay and disparities in delay will require educating women about the importance of getting breast lumps evaluated in a timely manner and providing greater access to regular health care.

PMID:
20200436
PMCID:
PMC3625394
DOI:
10.1158/1055-9965.EPI-09-0997
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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