Socio-demographic factors and reasons associated with delay in breast cancer presentation: a study in Nigerian women

Breast. 2012 Jun;21(3):416-8. doi: 10.1016/j.breast.2012.02.006. Epub 2012 Feb 28.


We evaluated the effects of selected socio-demographic factors on late presentation and reasons why our breast cancer patients delay reporting for treatment. All female breast cancer patients referred to one of the general surgery out-patient clinics of Lagos State University Teaching Hospital between January 2009 and December 2010 were interviewed. Relevant socio-demographic and clinical data were obtained and reasons for patient delay documented. Univariate and multivariate logistic regression analyses were conducted to calculate odd ratio for delay. A total of 201 patients were enrolled. Mean duration of symptoms was 12.12 months (SD ± 5.18). Delay for more than 3 months before initial medical consultation was observed in 164 patients (81.6%). Increased risk of late presentation was associated with single women (OR=2.054), primary level of education (OR=3.059), negative history of benign breast disease (OR=1.648) and pre-menopause (OR=1.861). Ignorance of the nature of illness, belief in spiritual healing, fear of mastectomy and belief in herbal treatment were the leading reasons for delay. Women with higher risk of late presentation should be the target group during interventions aimed at raising breast cancer awareness. Reasons for patient delay should also be addressed.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Breast Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Breast Neoplasms / epidemiology
  • Breast Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / psychology*
  • Early Detection of Cancer / statistics & numerical data
  • Female
  • Health Behavior*
  • Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice*
  • Hospitals, Teaching
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations
  • Mastectomy / psychology
  • Middle Aged
  • Nigeria
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / psychology*
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Patient Education as Topic
  • Risk Factors
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Young Adult