Background: One of the most important prognostic factors of oral cancer is the stage at the time of diagnosis. Unfortunately, most of the patients present in the late stages (stage III and IV).
Aim: To assess the role of socioeconomic status and literacy in the treatment delay in patients of oral cancer. By identifying their role, we can educate the general public and healthcare doctors to detect and treat oral cancer.
Method: This was a prospective study conducted in the Mayo hospital, a tertiary care hospital of Pakistan, from June 2018 to June 2020.
Results: Out of 120 patients, 84 (70%) were males and 36 (30%) were females. The age range was 14 to 85 years. One hundred and eight patients (90%) presented with the late stages (stage III and IV). These late-stage presenter patients belonged to the low socioeconomic status (88.88%) and 83.33% of them were illiterate (<high school education). Only twelve patients (10%) presented with the early stage at the time of diagnosis.
Conclusion: Low socioeconomic and lack of education have a significant association with the late presentation of oral cancer patients in the Pakistani population.
Keywords: squamous cell carcinoma, treatment delay, socioeconomic status