Delays before treatment initiation increase the likelihood of later-stage diagnosis of breast cancer and reduce survival. Among Chinese women living in mainland China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan, the amount of time lost in delay and the factors influencing it are unclear.
This integrative review aimed to characterize delay intervals among Chinese women, identify factors contributing to delay, and develop a conceptual model of these factors.
Using Whittemore and Knafl’s methodology for integrative reviews, PubMed, CINAHL, Web of Science, SCOPUS, PsycINFO, and China National Knowledge Infrastructure were searched for primary research articles. For 15 selected studies, quality evaluation was performed employing the Crowe Critical Appraisal Tool. A narrative synthesis was developed to summarize and explain the findings.
Total delay intervals (from first discovery of breast symptoms to treatment initiation) exceeded 3 months for 50.2% to 52% of breast cancer patients. The greatest delay occurred between symptom discovery and first presentation (patient intervals). Factors affecting delay in presentation, diagnosis, and treatment included symptom appraisal, Chinese cultural factors, knowledge of breast cancer symptoms and screening, health history, personality, social and healthcare factors, and background factors.
Half of Chinese breast cancer patients delayed long enough to lower their chances of survival. Our review sheds light on how the reviewed factors contribute to delay and their unique influences in this population.
Implications for Practice
Factors identified can inform nursing interventions that raise breast cancer awareness and promote timely diagnosis and treatment in Chinese women.