Factors influencing time to diagnosis and treatment among pediatric oncology patients in Kenya

F. Njuguna, H. Martijn, S. Langat, J. Musimbi, H. Muliro, J. Skiles, T. Vik, M. N. Sitaresmi, P. M. van de Ven, G. J.L. Kaspers, S. Mostert

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Scopus citations


Early diagnosis and start of treatment are fundamental goals in cancer care. This study determines the time lag and the factors that influence the time to diagnosis and start of treatment. Study participants were parents of childhood cancer patients diagnosed between August 2013 and July 2014 in a hospital in Kenya. Patient, physician, diagnosis, treatment, health care system, and total delay were explored using a questionnaire. Demographic and medical data were collected from the patients' medical records. Parents of 99 childhood cancer patients were interviewed (response rate: 80%). Median total delay was 102 (9–1021) days. Median patient delay (4 days) was significantly shorter than health care system delay (median 87 days; P <.001). Diagnosis delay (median 94 days) was significantly longer than treatment delay (median 6 days; P <.001). days. Lack of health insurance at diagnosis and use of alternative medicine before attending conventional health services were associated with a significantly longer patient delay (P =.041 and P =.017, respectively). The type of cancer had a significant effect on treatment delay (P =.020). The type of health facility attended affected only patient delay (P =.03). Gender, age at diagnosis, stage of disease, parents' education level or income, and distance from hospital did not have a significant effect on the length of any type of delay. Training on childhood cancer should be included in the curricula for medical training institutes. In-service workshops should be held for the health workers already working. Families must be obligated to get health insurance. Families should be encourage to attend conventional health facilities and informed on symptoms of cancer through mass media.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-199
Number of pages14
JournalPediatric Hematology and Oncology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 2 2016


  • Childhood cancer
  • delay
  • low-income country

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
  • Hematology
  • Oncology

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    Njuguna, F., Martijn, H., Langat, S., Musimbi, J., Muliro, H., Skiles, J., Vik, T., Sitaresmi, M. N., van de Ven, P. M., Kaspers, G. J. L., & Mostert, S. (2016). Factors influencing time to diagnosis and treatment among pediatric oncology patients in Kenya. Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, 33(3), 186-199. https://doi.org/10.3109/08880018.2016.1169566