Delays in the Pathway to Cancer Diagnosis in Samoa: A Qualitative Study of Patients’ Experiences

Beatriz Cuesta-Briand, Dyxon Hansell, Shelley Burich, Terri Loimata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Cancer is a leading cause of death in Samoa, with cancer patients presenting late and experiencing poor outcomes. Barriers to early diagnosis are complex, and cultural factors play an important part. This qualitative study explored the barriers to cancer diagnosis in Samoa through semistructured interviews conducted with 19 Samoan patients. Thematic data analysis was informed by socioecological theory and yielded 4 themes: knowledge and beliefs about cancer; pain as a trigger for health care–seeking behavior; follow-up issues; and communication and trust. Cancer knowledge and attitudes toward pain were strongly influenced by culture and community beliefs. Lack of follow-up resulted in significant delays, and ineffective patient-doctor communication triggered feelings of uncertainty and mistrust in the health care system. Efforts to address knowledge gaps will not be effective unless they are accompanied by broader strategies addressing local health care capacity issues. Adopting a socioecological framework lens within a regional collaborative approach provides a way forward.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)707-713
Number of pages7
JournalAsia-Pacific Journal of Public Health
Issue number6-7
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2021


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