1Social Determinants of Health Research Center, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, IR Iran
2Department of Oncology, Guilan University of Medical Sciences, Rasht, Iran
Background The growing trend of breast cancer in Iran and the adverse consequences arising from the delay in diagnosis and treatment in females has been a challenge. Objectives This study was conducted to identify the predictors for diagnosis and treatment delay in females with breast cancer in the north of Iran. Methods This cross-sectional study was performed on 232 patients with a definite diagnosis of breast cancer at Razi Hospital, which is the main referral centre in Guilan Province, Iran, using sequential sampling methods. Data were collected using a six-section questionnaire through interviews and medical records of the patients. Data were analyzed using descriptive statistics, logistic regression and chi square test. Results Delays of more than one month was observed in 53% of patients and more than three months delay was observed in 31%. Of the patients with a definite diagnosis of breast cancer, 87% returned within seven days for treatment interventions. Three variables of: stage of disease (stage II: P = 0.002, OR = 7.19 and stage III: P = 0.034, OR = 1.95), lack of complementary insurance (P = 0.007, OR = 2.26) and primary insurance (P = 0.067, OR = 3.52) were important risk factors for patient delay. Knowledge and attitude regarding the symptoms of breast cancer (P = 0.007), the most important method for breast cancer diagnosis (P = 0.004), and the importance of self-examination was significantly different between patients with and without delay in the onset of treatment. Conclusions This study showed that about one-third of patients with breast cancer had a patient delay of more than three months. In addition, 16.8% and 13% of patients experienced system delay in diagnosis and treatment, respectively. The government is responsible to not only teach people on the signs of breast cancer, but also to establish a powerful screening system for breast cancer.