SURG 560 Final Report: Assessment of Barriers Contributing to Presentation of Breast Cancer Patients in Jamaica

Lorenz Yeung, a student of the MGSC program, recently published their SURG 560 final report to UBC cIRcle. This report is a summary of the final practicum project “Assessment of Barriers Contributing to Presentation of Breast Cancer Patients in Jamaica” conducted Feb 2020 – Mar 2020.

To read the full text, please visit here.




Background: This project sought to reveal factors that delay breast cancer patient presentation in Jamaica. This patient population is known to present at advanced stages, but little is known about what causes this (1–3). The study used studies in similar populations as a basis for protocol development appropriate for the target population. The study was developed in partnership with Dr. Dingle Spence (local PI), Dr. Steven Smith, and Dr. Brittany Bromfield. Dr. Spence is a Jamaican oncologist whose work focusses on palliative care. She is staff at the Hope Institute cancer centre as well as Kingston Public Hospital. Drs. Smith and Bromfield are general practitioners working as research assistants for Dr. Spence. Project proposals and ethics applications were submitted in January 2020. On-site study activities were conducted between Feb 2020 and March 2020.

Study Overview: This study was a prospective, cross-sectional survey of Jamaican breast cancer patients and oncologists to characterize breast cancer disease perspectives and potential barriers delaying presentation. Breast cancer patients answered sets of questions regarding disease understanding, attitude towards the public health system, attitudes towards mammograms, and potential deterrents to accessing care. Patient demographics and disease histology are included to further contextualize the dataset. Active oncologists treating breast patients were asked questions to frame their perspective on this patient population, their opinions on patient attitudes towards care and assumptions of patient barriers at play. They were also given questions to gauge patient attitudes/deterrents on mammograms. Data collection commenced on 2 Mar 2020 and ended on 19 Mar 2020. Protocol details and questionnaires are found in Appendix A