Why do older women delay presentation with breast cancer symptoms?



Women who delay their presentation with breast cancer for three months or longer are more likely to be diagnosed with later stage disease and have poorer survival. Older women, who are at greater risk of developing breast cancer, are also more likely to delay their presentation. Factors associated with delayed presentation were assessed in 69 women (>65 years) with breast cancer. Previous factors identified for women of all ages were confirmed (having a non-lump symptom p=0.003) or strengthened (non-disclosure of symptom discovery to a relative or close friend p=0.001). Additional factors for delay in this older group included reservations about seeing their GP (p=0.02) and fear of the consequences of cancer (p=0.04). These factors should inform the design of interventions to reduce delays. Copyright © 2006 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.