Factors affecting patient access in Thailand: understanding delay in care seeking for patients with cancer.

Journal Article

While nearly three-quarters of cancer mortalities occur in low- and middle-income countries, we know little about the factors contributing to patient delays in seeking care for cancer. Our study employs a multifactorial approach by examining three key areas: patient socio-demographic factors, structural factors of health-care access and cancer patients' beliefs about their illness and cancer in general as potential determinants of their delay in seeking care in Thailand. We conducted a cross-sectional study using a systematic sample of 264 patients with cancer treated during 2006-2007 at Prince Maha Vajiralongkorn Cancer Centre, a hospital of the National Cancer Institute of Thailand. We defined patient delay as when a patient waited more than 3 months after symptom onset to seek medical care. We used bivariate analysis and multivariate logistic regression to examine unadjusted and adjusted associations of patient delays in seeking care with: patient socio-demographic factors, structural factors of health-care access and patients' beliefs about their illness in particular and about cancer in general. We also obtained patient self-reports about their reasons for delaying care. In multivariate analysis, only patient-belief factors were significantly associated with delay. Patients who believed that the primary causes of cancer were non-medical (vs. medical) were more likely to delay seeking care (adjusted odds ratio (OR)=4.37, 95% confidence interval (CI)=2.27-8.67). Patients who believed that cancer was probably curable or was curable (vs. incurable) were significantly less likely to delay seeking care (adjusted OR=0.2, 95% CI=0.08-0.56; adjusted OR=0.18, 95% CI=0.07-0.49, respectively). Patient socio-demographic factors and structural factors of health-care access were not significantly associated (p>0.05). Our findings suggest that interventions to reduce delays in care seeking should address patient beliefs regarding cancer in order to effectively mitigate barriers to access.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Bhosai, SJ; Sinthusake, T; Miwa, S; Bradley, E

Published Date

  • January 2011

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 6 / 4

Start / End Page

  • 385 - 397

PubMed ID

  • 20859818

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1744-1706

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 1744-1692

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1080/17441692.2010.508750

Language

  • eng