Medical and Psychosocial Predictors of Delay in Seeking Medical Consultation for Breast Symptoms in Women in a Public Sector Setting

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Abstract

We examined demographic, medical and psychosocial factors related to delay in seeking medical consultation for breast symptoms. In this cross-sectional survey, 124 women with breast symptoms attending an outpatient breast surgery clinic in a county general hospital completed questionnaires measuring demographic, medical and psychosocial variables. Our outcome variable was delay in seeking medical consultation. Younger age (p ≤ 0.05), less education (p ≤ 0.01), absence of a lump (p ≤ 0.05), lower perceived risk (p ≤ 0.001), less spirituality (p ≤ 0.01), cost (p ≤ 0.001) and not wanting to think about breast symptom(s) (p ≤ 0.05) were related to delay. Multivariate analyses showed absence of a breast lump by education interaction (p ≤ 0.05), risk perception (p ≤ 0.001), spirituality (p ≤ 0.01) and cost (p ≤ 0.001) collectively accounted for 38.4% of the variance in delay. Health promotion programs targeting low-income populations should emphasize the importance of breast symptoms other than lumps, especially to younger and less educated women.

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