DELAY IN MEDICAL CONSULTATION AMONG WOMEN WITH BREAST CANCER IN WESTERN INDONESIA: A CROSS-SECTIONAL STUDY
Studies on the role of social context in understanding why breast cancer patients are diagnosed at an advanced stage in developing countries are scarce. This study described delays in medical consultation among women with breast cancer in West Sumatera Province and its related factors. A hospital-based, cross-sectional design was conducted involving 218 respondents. Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to determine the association between early treatment practices and respondent characteristics, breast cancer knowledge, symptoms, health service utilization, and social capital. The study found that 69.7% of respondents sought health services within three months after the first signs notification. Most of those who postponed medical consultation thought their symptoms did not indicate an illness and were not harmful (48.5%). Delay in medical consultation was related to low education level (OR=4.8, 95% CI: 1.37-16.62) and lower knowledge of breast cancer (OR=2.3, 95% CI: 1.18-4.39) This study found that an increase of one unit in the social capital score resulted in an 11% (0.11) decrease in the odds of delaying medical consultation for breast cancer (95% CI: 0.19-0.02). One-third of breast cancer patients were found to have delayed medical consultation, related to lower education level, inadequate knowledge of breast cancer, and lack of social capital. Therefore, education on the importance of prompt medical consultation should reach all community members. Social capital building is needed to introduce the message of early detection and early treatment of breast cancer for community members to share.
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