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Year : 2020  |  Volume : 3  |  Issue : 4  |  Page : 716-723

First symptom and time to diagnosis in pediatric patients with solid tumors: A cross-sectional study from a regional cancer institute in South India

Department of Pediatric Oncology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Bengaluru, Karnataka, India

Correspondence Address:
Prakruthi S Kaushik
Department of Pediatric Oncology, Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology, Dr M. H. Marigowda Road, Bengaluru - 560 029, Karnataka
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/CRST.CRST_214_20

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Background: Timely diagnosis and early treatment are essential components of oncology that translate to better outcomes. Objectives: The primary aim of this study was to determine the time to diagnosis and its associated factors in pediatric patients with solid tumors registered at our tertiary health-care facility in South India. Materials and Methods: This cross-sectional study was conducted in the Outpatient Department of Pediatric Oncology of the Kidwai Memorial Institute of Oncology (Karnataka, India) from January 2019 to December 2019. Children aged<15 years with newly diagnosed solid tumors were included in the study after obtaining written informed consent from their parents/guardians. The demographic details of the patients were noted, and the relevant time intervals were calculated based on the history and previous medical records. Prediagnostic time intervals were categorized as parent time (TP), time to referral (TR), time to definitive diagnosis (TDD), and total time to diagnosis (TD). The data were analyzed using the Wilcoxon signed-rank test and the independent samples median test. Results: We enrolled 75 pediatric patients in the study, with an equal distribution of male and female patients. The median TD, TR, TP, and TDD were 76, 43, 7, and 16 days, respectively. The factors associated with a delay in the diagnosis included the maternal educational status, the state of residence, site of lesion, disease stage, and tumor type. The median TD was the shortest in patients with hepatoblastoma and longest in patients with retinoblastoma. Conclusions: Educating the mothers, raising awareness among the primary care physicians about the symptoms at presentation of childhood cancers, strengthening the screening system, decentralization of cancer care, and increasing the number of pediatric oncology care centers are the need of the hour.

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