This study was carried out to determine the prevalence, patient's characteristic and reasons for defaulting follow-up and treatment among patients with lung cancer.
Patients with histologically confirmed lung cancer were recruited. Patient's detailed demographic data, occupation, socioeconomic status, and educational level of both the patients and their children were recorded. Defaulters were classified as either intermittent or persistent defaulters. By using Chi-square test, defaulter status was compared with various demographic and disease characteristic factors. The reasons for default were determined.
Ninety five patients were recruited. Among them, 81.1% patients were males; 66.3% were Malays. The mean age (SD) was 60 ± 10.5 years. About 46.3% of the patients had Eastern Cooperation Oncology Group (ECOG) functional status 0/1 and 96.8% of the patients presented with advanced stage (Stage 3b or 4). Overall, 20 patients (21.1%) were defaulters (35.0% intermittent defaulters; 65.0% persistent defaulters). Among the intermittent defaulters, 8 patients defaulted once and one patient defaulted 3 times. Among the 20 defaulters, only 2 (10%) patients turned up for the second follow-up appointment after telephone reminder. Two main reasons for default were ‘too ill to come’ (38.5.5%) and logistic difficulties (23.1%). No correlation was found between patient education, children education, income, ECOG status, stage of the disease, race, and gender with the defaulter rate.
Defaulter rate among lung cancer patients was 21.1%. Children education level is the only significant factor associated with the defaulter rate.