Original Article

Use of Alternative Medicine Is Delaying Health-Seeking Behavior by Bangladeshi Breast Cancer Patients


  • Khursheda Akhtar
  • Khodeza Akhtar
  • M. Mizanur Rahman

Received Date: 13.12.2017 Accepted Date: 03.03.2018 Eur J Breast Health 2018;14(3):166-172


Various treatment options including alternative medicine is available in underdeveloped countries which attracts easily the community with low profile. This study aimed to find perception of the use and mode use of alternative medicine (AM) by Bangladeshi Breast cancer patients which may influence timely treatment seeking.

Materials and Methods:

A cross sectional study was performed to determine the spectrum in use of alternative medicine and compare the use of alternative medicine with their delay in presentation. Patients were selected randomly from July 2015-June 2016 in a specialized public cancer hospital of Dhaka city. Face to face interview was taken from diagnosed breast cancer patients, collected in pre-structured data sheet, SPSS was used for statical tests.


Out of 200 respondents, about half of the respondents 46.5% (93) first sought help to alternative medicine. Most of them 86.02 %( 80) preferred to use homeopathy. The mean duration of use alternative medicine was 2.9±4.7 months, mean patient delay was 4 months. Use of alternative medicine was found significantly (p<0.05) associated with patient delay (p=0.019), provider delay (p<0.0001), total delay (p<0.0001), use of homeopathy (p<0.0001) and residence (p=0.014). Logistic regression analysis showed that alternative medicine was 4 times more likely to cause delay help seeking (OR=4.353; 95% CI 2.2.7-8.587) p<0.0001. The co-efficient r was 0.488, p<0.0001 and there was a positive correlation among delay and duration of use of alternative medicine.


Seeking medical help other than orthodox available treatment leads to delayed presentation by the breast cancer patients.

Keywords: Alternative medicine, delay health seeking, breast cancer