Determinants of delay in seeking medical care among women with invasive cervical cancer in western kenya

Author: 
Mary Flaviane Nyangasi., Justus Osero and Peter Gichangi

Introduction: Cervical cancer is the leading cause of cancer morbidity and mortality among women in Kenya. Although curable if detected early, its incidence is on the rise and many women are presenting with advanced disease. Reducing the time from onset of symptoms to diagnosis will effectively improve quality of life and prognosis of patients.
Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in two county referral hospitals in rural Kenya between March and May 2016. 274 respondents participated in the study. Face to face interviews using a pretested structured questionnaire and medical records review were carried out. Descriptive and inferential statistics were analyzed using Statistical Packages for Social Sciences version 21 (SPSS Inc, USA). Chi square test was used to derive relationships between variables; results were considered significant with p value ≤ 0.05.
Results: 55% of patients waited more than three months before seeking care despite accessibility to health facilities and good social support mainly because they did not appraise the symptoms as serious. There were also significant delays in the diagnostic process with majority of patients waiting for results for up to three months. Psychosocial factors such as beliefs and perceptions held by the patients about initial symptoms and their social support networks were the most significant predictors of delay in seeking medical care. A general lack of knowledge on cervical cancer also contributed to delay.
Conclusion: There is need to raise awareness about cervical cancer to empower the public and health workers in general to recognize its signs and symptoms early.

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