An investigation into the factors that contribute to the late presentation of rural Zulu patients with cancer to the two major provincial cancer treatment centres in KwaZulu-Natal (prior to December 2002)
Cancer is an inexorably progressive disease and a favourable outcome in its management often depends on early intervention (Mackillop, Zhou and Quirt, 1995: 532). Early detection of the disease is therefore important for a favourable outcome to be achieved. When the disease is diagnosed at a late stage, the treatment that is offered is only palliative. Palliative treatment is only offered with the aim to relieve the local symptoms of advanced disease. The treatment intent is therefore not curative but only to give the patient a better quality of life, which sometimes is not possible especially for very advanced disease. In KwaZulu-Natal the incidence of Zulu speaking patients presenting with a late stage disease to the major cancer treatment centres is very high with the result that the majority of these patients can only be offered palliative treatment (Pervan, Cohen and Jaftha, 1995 : 162). Aim of the study is to investigate the factors that contribute to the late presentation of rural Zulu patients with cancer to the two major provincial cancer treatment centers in KwaZulu-Natal (prior to December 2002).
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