Clinical presentation and causes of the delayed diagnosis of breast cancer in patients with pregnancy associated breast cancer

J Family Community Med. 2015 May-Aug;22(2):96-100. doi: 10.4103/2230-8229.155383.


Objective: The objective was to assess the clinical presentation, delay of diagnosis, and the causes of delay in the diagnosis of patients with pregnancy-associated breast cancer (PABC) and patients with non-PABC.

Patients and methods: This was a face-to-face interview with women who had histologically confirmed BC. All respondents were interviewed at our hospital.

Results: We interviewed 56 patients, 36 with non-PABC and 20 with PABC. Of the 20 patients with PABC, BC was diagnosed in 12 (60%) during pregnancy and 8 (40%) during postpartum. 18 of the patients (90%) with PABC presented mainly with a mass 3 (15%) with pain and ulcer, 5 (25%) with skin redness and thickening, 6 (30%) with nipple retraction and 4 (20%) with discharge 12 (60%) patients with PABC had delayed diagnosis and 8 (40%) of this delay was due to physicians' reassurance, and 2 (10%) because of fear of cancer. Similarly, 35 (97%) patients with non-PABC presented with breast mass, 3 (8.3%) with infrequent pain 4 (11.11%) with inflammation 2 (5.55%) with ulcer 2 (5.55%) with nipple discharge and4 (11.11%) with thickening of the skin compared with PABC patients. Only 4 (11.11%) in non-PABC had delayed diagnosis, and for half of them the delay was due to the fear of cancer. Two patients with PABC and non-PABC were afraid of cancer 16.66% and 5.55%, respectively. However, 8 (60%) of patients with PABC had delayed diagnosis compared to 0% of patients with non-PABC.

Conclusion: In this study, the majority of patients with PABC or non-PABC presented with a breast lump. Other symptoms were more common in patients with PABC than in patients with non-PABC. An increased awareness of clinicians may help reduce delay in the diagnosis of patients with PABC.

Keywords: Breast; cancer; delay; pregnancy.