Breast cancer diagnostic delays among young Mexican women are associated with a lack of suspicion by health care providers at first presentation
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© 2019 by American Society of Clinical Oncology.PURPOSE There is insufficient evidence in the literature regarding the association between young age and diagnostic delay of breast cancer (BC). This study aimed to determine whether young age increases the risk of diagnostic delays among patients with BC and also to identify the mechanisms through which young age affects diagnostic delay. PATIENTS AND METHODS This was a cross-sectional study of 592 patients with symptomatic BC treated at two of the largest public cancer hospitals in Mexico City available for the uninsured and those covered by Seguro Popular. A validated questionnaire was administered via face-to-face interviews with the patients, and their medical files were reviewed. Path analyses, using multivariable logistic regression models, were conducted to assess the relationship between age and diagnostic delay, as well as the role of potential confounders. RESULTS Younger participants (40 years of age or younger) had significantly longer diagnostic intervals and presented with more advanced cancer stage than did their older counterparts. Younger participants more often sought initial health care in private services led by gynecologists, more frequently experienced a lack of cancer suspicion by the first physician they consulted, used a higher number of different health services, and had more medical consultations before arrival to a cancer care center. Younger age was significantly associated with longer diagnostic delays after controlling for education, occupation, lack of health insurance, history of benign breast conditions, type of first health service used, specialty of the first physician consulted, first symptom presented, and benign interpretation of the first breast image study. CONCLUSION Young age increased the risk of diagnostic delays, which seems to be a result of an increased risk of lack of cancer suspicion at the first health care service consulted.