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Revista Brasileira de Ginecologia e Obstetrícia

Print version ISSN 0100-7203On-line version ISSN 1806-9339


REZENDE, Magda Côrtes Rodrigues; KOCH, Hilton Augusto; FIGUEIREDO, Juliana de Almeida  and  THULER, Luiz Claudio Santos. Factors leading to delay in obtaining definitive diagnosis of suspicious lesions for breast cancer in a dedicated health unit in Rio de Janeiro. Rev. Bras. Ginecol. Obstet. [online]. 2009, vol.31, n.2, pp.75-81. ISSN 1806-9339.

PURPOSE: to evaluate the factors leading to delays in obtaining definitive diagnosis of suspicious lesions for breast cancer. METHODS: a cross-sectional, observational study was carried out with 104 women attending a cancer hospital with a diagnosis or suspected diagnosis of breast cancer. A semistructured questionnaire on the patients' demographic, clinical characteristics and the use of services was applied.Variables were compared using t-Student test, Mann-Whitney test, Pearson's χ2 test or Fisher's exact test, as appropriate. In order to identify the variables associated with delays in breast cancer diagnosis, the Odds Ratio (OR) were calculated together with their respective 95% confidence intervals (95%CI) and a logistic regression model was constructed. RESULTS: age of patients was 54±12.6 years (mean±standard deviation). Most of the women were white (48.1%), married (63.5%), living in the city of Rio de Janeiro (57.7%) and poorly educated (60.6%). The median time between the first sign or symptom of the disease and first consultation was one month and the mean time between first consultation and confirmation of diagnosis was 6.5 months. In 51% of the women, diagnosis was late (stages II-IV). Symptomatic presentation and longer delay between symptom onset and the first evaluation and between symptom onset and the diagnosis were found to be significant factors (p<0.05) for delays in obtaining definitive diagnosis of suspicious lesions. CONCLUSIONS: the results of this study suggest that efforts must be made to reduce the time needed to get an appointment with a doctor and to confirm a diagnosis of suspicious lesions, as well as to educate physicians and the women themselves regarding the importance of breast symptoms and the value of prompt evaluation, diagnosis, and treatment.

Keywords : Breast neoplasms [epidemiology]; Breast neoplasms [diagnosis]; Single Health System; Health promotion; Health education; Risk factors.

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