Perceived barriers to timely treatment initiation and social support status among women with breast cancer in Ethiopia

Teshome, B., Trabitzsch, J., Afework, T. , Addissie, A., Kaba, M., Kantelhardt, E. J. and Getachew, S. (2021) Perceived barriers to timely treatment initiation and social support status among women with breast cancer in Ethiopia. PLoS ONE, 16(9), e0257163. (doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0257163) (PMID:34516552) (PMCID:PMC8437283)

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Timely care is essential to increase breast cancer survival. However, patients in Ethiopia still face multilevel barriers on their pathway to timely treatment initiation. This cross-sectional study at Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital Oncology Unit in Addis Ababa assessed systemic treatment initiation intervals of breast cancer patients and quantified the impact of socio-demographic and clinical factors, perceived barriers, and the patients´ perceived social support status on timely systemic treatment initiation (chemotherapy or hormonal therapy). A structured questionnaire was designed based on Pechansky´s “Concept of Access”. Applying simple and multivariate logistic regression we analysed the influence of patients´ characteristics as well as their perceived barriers on timely treatment initiation. We measured social support with the Multidimensional Score of Perceived Social Support (MSPSS) and used the Wilcoxon Rank-Sum Test to assess its relationship with timely treatment initiation. Of 196 patients included into the study, 53% received systemic treatment within 90 days of their pathological diagnosis–the median treatment initiation interval was 85 days (IQR 123.5). Older women and patients diagnosed at late stages had higher odds of timely treatment initiation. Not being able to pay for services and lack of transport were most often perceived as barriers towards timely care. However, none of the perceived barriers showed a substantial influence on timely treatment initiation in the multivariate regression model. The patients´ perceived social support was found to be high, with an average MSPSS score of 73 out of 84 (SD 13,63). No impact of the perceived social support status on timely treatment initiation was found. The percentage of breast cancer patients waiting longer than 90 days from pathological diagnosis to systemic treatment initiation in Ethiopia remains unacceptably high. While women generally feel well supported by their social environment, costs and accessibility of treatment are perceived to be major barriers towards timely treatment initiation.

Item Type:Articles
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Habte, Tsion Afework
Authors: Teshome, B., Trabitzsch, J., Afework, T., Addissie, A., Kaba, M., Kantelhardt, E. J., and Getachew, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences
Journal Name:PLoS ONE
Publisher:Public Library of Science
ISSN (Online):1932-6203
Published Online:13 September 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 Teshome et al
First Published:First published in PLoS ONE 16(9): e0257163
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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