Objectives: This systematic review focuses on the role of the intensity of fear in patient's delay in cancer and in myocardial infarction.
Methods: In a search of literature published between 1990 and June 2009, 161 articles were found. After the use of inclusion and exclusion criteria, 11 articles in cancer and 4 articles in myocardial infarction remained.
Results: High levels of fear are associated with earlier help-seeking in both diseases; for low levels of fear, the picture is unclear.
Conclusion: The level of fear is an important factor, which should be taken into account when facilitating help-seeking by patients.