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Year : 2017  |  Volume : 6  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 28-30

Pediatric hematological malignancy: Identification of issues involved in the road to diagnosis

1 Department of Pediatrics, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India
2 Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hemato Oncology, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India

Correspondence Address:
Latha Magatha Sneha
Department of Pediatrics, Division of Pediatric Hemato Oncology, Sri Ramachandra University, Porur, Chennai, Tamil Nadu
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/2278-330X.202559

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Introduction: Childhood malignancy, although a rare phenomenon, is still the leading cause of mortality in the pediatric population. Early diagnosis and treatment are imperative for the achievement of optimal prognosis. The study of factors facilitating the delay in diagnosis is thus of utmost importance, to both shorten the diagnostic delay and allow for early therapeutic intervention, facilitating a higher prognosis. Objective: To assess the referral pattern and the identification of potential delays in the diagnosis of childhood malignancy in a developing country. Methodology: The study was conducted in the Pediatric Hematology and Oncology department of Sri Ramachandra University, Chennai, India. The study included randomly selected 70 pediatric patients diagnosed with a hematological malignancy, from July 2012-August 2013. The parents were interviewed using a prepared questionnaire about patient symptomatology, interaction with healthcare providers, final diagnosis, and referral details. Data were statistically analyzed using Statistica® (STATsoft). Results: 70 patients were included in the study (69% boys, 31% girls). The diagnostic delay was primarily due to the delay experienced in the healthcare system, with a mean delay of 26 days (Median: 18; Range: 5-39). Those from a lower socioeconomic background and whom opted for a non-allopathic treatment approach experienced higher diagnostic delays. Diagnostic time was significantly shorter for those who visited a pediatrician versus the patients who visited a general physician or super specialties (P = 0.043). Conclusions: Diagnostic delay is often associated with an extensive disease presentation, an aggressive therapeutic approach, and has a negative impact on patient prognosis. To lower mortality rate and facilitate a favourable prognosis, diagnosis requires a high degree of clinical suspicion and immediate intervention.

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