Duration of intervals in the care seeking pathway for lung cancer in Bangladesh: A journey from symptoms triggering consultation to receipt of treatment

Timeliness in seeking care is critical for lung cancer patients’ survival and better prognosis. The care seeking trajectory of patients with lung cancer in Bangladesh has not been explored, despite the differences in health systems and structures compared to high income countries. This study investigated the symptoms triggering healthcare seeking, preferred healthcare providers (including informal healthcare providers such as pharmacy retailers, village doctors, and “traditional healers”), and the duration of intervals in the lung cancer care pathway of patients in Bangladesh. A cross-sectional study was conducted in three tertiary care hospitals in Bangladesh among diagnosed lung cancer patients through face-to-face interview and medical record review. Time intervals from onset of symptom and care seeking events were calculated and compared between those who sought initial care from different providers using Wilcoxon rank sum tests. Among 418 study participants, the majority (90%) of whom were males, with a mean age of 57 ±9.86 years, cough and chest pain were the most common (23%) combination of symptoms triggering healthcare seeking. About two-thirds of the total respondents (60%) went to informal healthcare providers as their first point of contact. Living in rural areas, lower levels of education and lower income were associated with seeking care from such providers. The median duration between onset of symptom to confirmation of diagnosis was 121 days, between confirmation of diagnosis and initiation of treatment was 22 days, and between onset of symptom and initiation of treatment was 151 days. Pre-diagnosis durations were longer for those who had sought initial care from an informal provider (p<0.05). Time to first contact with a health provider was shorter in this study compared to other developed and developing countries but utilizing informal healthcare providers caused delays in diagnosis and initiation of treatment. Encouraging people to seek care from a formal healthcare provider may reduce the overall duration of the care seeking pathway.

Real-world Treatment Patterns of Lung Cancerexperience of Resource Restricted Country

Background:

Lung cancer (LC) continues to be a significant worldwide public health issue. In recent years there have been several publications addressing specifics of LC worldwide, but none concerning Georgia- country with high number of smoking population and LC cases. We conducted the first study in Georgian population, that aims current LC practice.

Methods:

The aim of the study was to provide an overview of treatment of LC, with discussion situation in this field and indicating the future strategies for improved cancer care in the country. Medical, radiation and surgical oncologists providing treatment of LC in main hospitals (n=13) over the country, filled questionnaire that addressed specific information regarding the treatment aspects of LC reflecting current surgical aspects, systemic treatment and radiotherapy (RT).

Results

There is no national screening program, while radiologic imaging is readily available. The vast majority of patients in the country present with advanced stages at diagnosis and they are treated with systemic therapy and/or RT.

The surgical treatment is largely underutilized with the differences being observed among surgeons on the optimal timing and the extent of surgery, as well as role of surgery in specific clinical situations.

Improved health care system, well equipped hospitals, availability of many anticancer drugs and existence of modern RT technology, are coupled with slow appearance of country-adapted guidelines and protocols as well as enforcing MDT meetings.

There is limited access to expensive novel agents, psychological support and high quality palliative care.

Conclusions

There is still much work to be done, with all above steps considered mandatory to improve effectiveness and quality of care of LC patients.

Factors contributing to disparities in mortality among patients with non-small-cell lung cancer.

Historically, non-small-cell lung cancer (NSCLC) patients who are non-white, have low incomes, low educational attainment, and non-private insurance have worse survival. We assessed whether differences in survival were attributable to sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics at diagnosis, or treatments received. We surveyed a multiregional cohort of patients diagnosed with NSCLC from 2003 to 2005 and followed through 2012. We used Cox proportional hazard analyses to estimate the risk of death associated with race/ethnicity, annual income, educational attainment, and insurance status, unadjusted and sequentially adjusting for sociodemographic factors, clinical characteristics, and receipt of surgery, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy. Of 3250 patients, 64% were white, 16% black, 7% Hispanic, and 7% Asian; 36% of patients had incomes <$20 000/y; 23% had not completed high school; and 74% had non-private insurance. In unadjusted analyses, black race, Hispanic ethnicity, income <$60 000/y, not attending college, and not having private insurance were all associated with an increased risk of mortality. Black-white differences were not statistically significant after adjustment for sociodemographic factors, although patients with patients without a high school diploma and patients with incomes <$40 000/y continued to have an increased risk of mortality. Differences by educational attainment were not statistically significant after adjustment for clinical characteristics. Differences by income were not statistically significant after adjustment for clinical characteristics and treatments. Clinical characteristics and treatments received primarily contributed to mortality disparities by race/ethnicity and socioeconomic status in patients with NSCLC. Additional efforts are needed to assure timely diagnosis and use of effective treatment to lessen these disparities.