Cancer Diagnosis is Delayed 6 Months from the Onset Of Symptoms
On average, the time from the onset of symptoms until the person is diagnosed with cancer in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires (AMBA), Argentina, is about six months. However, there is a two-month gap between those with prepaid health insurance and those without it. Only 12 out of 100 patients learn about their disease before the appearance of clinical signs, evidencing the need to enhance population-based screening programs for earlier detection of tumors associated with greater chances of survival.
These are just some conclusions of a quantitative and qualitative study conducted by IPSOS Healthcare South Cone for All.Can Argentina. The research also found that the time of diagnosis is when patients perceive failures in healthcare the most.
The objective of the quantitative study was to explore and measure patients’ experiences and to categorize the inefficiencies of the process. A total of 400 men and women over 18 years old, residents of the AMBA, with a diagnosis of lung, colorectal, hematological, prostate, breast or gynecological cancer, among other tumors, were interviewed. Fifty-four percent of patients were between 45 and 65 years old, with an average age of 55. Six out of 10 were undergoing therapy at the time of the survey. The results reveal various barriers and inequities for early detection and timely treatment with the least possible emotional and financial impact.
Of the total number of patients interviewed, 68% were diagnosed at an early stage of cancer (0I or II) and 29% at an advanced stage. However, the proportions vary according to the organ or system affected. “It is important that public health campaigns and programs address not only individuals but also physicians. Primary care professionals have to be aware of the screening strategies, know how to suspect a diagnosis, learn about the resources available (for diagnosis), and the referral circuit,” said Dr. Julia Ismael, medical oncologist of the Asociación Argentina de Oncología Clínica (Argentine Association of Clinical Oncology, AAOC), and member of the Executive Committee of All.Can in Argentina.
Download the animated infographic with summary of the results
Download the Press Release in English
Links to media coverage (in Spanish)