Medical and psychosocial predictors of delay in seeking medical consultation for breast symptoms in women in a public sector setting

J Behav Med. 2006 Aug;29(4):327-34. doi: 10.1007/s10865-006-9059-2. Epub 2006 Jun 29.


We examined demographic, medical and psychosocial factors related to delay in seeking medical consultation for breast symptoms. In this cross-sectional survey, 124 women with breast symptoms attending an outpatient breast surgery clinic in a county general hospital completed questionnaires measuring demographic, medical and psychosocial variables. Our outcome variable was delay in seeking medical consultation. Younger age (p <or= 0.05), less education (p <or= 0.01), absence of a lump (p <or= 0.05), lower perceived risk (p <or= 0.001), less spirituality (p <or= 0.01), cost (p <or= 0.001) and not wanting to think about breast symptom(s) (p <or= 0.05) were related to delay. Multivariate analyses showed absence of a breast lump by education interaction (p <or= 0.05), risk perception (p <or= 0.001), spirituality (p <or= 0.01) and cost (p <or= 0.001) collectively accounted for 38.4% of the variance in delay. Health promotion programs targeting low-income populations should emphasize the importance of breast symptoms other than lumps, especially to younger and less educated women.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / statistics & numerical data
  • Anxiety / diagnosis
  • Anxiety / epidemiology
  • Anxiety / psychology
  • Attitude to Health
  • Breast Diseases / diagnosis
  • Breast Diseases / epidemiology
  • Breast Diseases / psychology*
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice
  • Health Surveys
  • Hospitals, Public
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Motivation*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Public Sector*
  • Referral and Consultation / statistics & numerical data
  • Risk Assessment
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spirituality
  • Texas