Published: 2022-06-28

Treatment dropout: the hidden truth behind the treatment failure of malignancy

Bhaskar Chakraborty, Anasuya Dhar


Background: Bangladesh is a country with a high burden of malignant people. As this burning issue is recklessly increasing day by day, the aim of this study is to point out the causes behind the cancer patients getting dropped out of the midway of their treatment.

Methods:  A total of 40 patients were enrolled in this study at a tertiary level cancer hospital. They were selected from the treatment drop out of the registry of our oncology ward, connected through their contact numbers, and several questions were asked systematically according to a pre-formed questionnaire containing patients’ age, gender, socio-economic and educational status, different possible causes of treatment drop out, etc. Data were collected and analyzed systematically with the help of SPSS 25.

Results: Among the study population (n=40), the number of male and female patients was 12 (30%) and 28 (70%) respectively. The mean age of male patients was 65 years (range 45 to 78 years) and that of female were 45 years (35 to 60 years. Most of the patients were from lower-middle-class socio-economic status (45%) with an average of educational status up to secondary school certificate (SSC) exam and family income less than 20,000 BDT per month. Only 15% of patients were self-dependent and the rest of all were dependent on either husband (in the case of female) or children. Among twelve male patients (n=12), five patients (5, 41.6%) had colorectal cancer, three patients (3, 25%) had lung cancer and two patients (2, 16.7%) was harboring prostate cancer. Of twenty-eight female study populations (n=28), more than half of the population (15, 53.6%) had breast cancer, one-fourth of patients (7,25%) had cervical cancer and only two patients (2, 7.14%) had ovarian cancer. The possible vital reason behind early treatment dropout among patients was financial problems (55%). Husbands’ deprivation (13%), Social harassment and isolation (8%) after the first cancer diagnosis,

Conclusions: Social awareness, proper steps, and policies of government and non-government organizations for cancer patients taking into consideration all of the causative factors behind treatment drop out can reach the goal of cancer-free Bangladesh.


Treatment drop-out, Malignancy, Cancer, Treatment failure

Full Text:



World Health Organization. Global Health Observatory. Geneva: World health organization. 2018. Available at: Accessed June 21, 2018.

Global Cancer Statistics. GLOBOCAN Estimates of Incidence and Mortality Worldwide for 36 Cancers in 185 Countries. 2018.

Wu S, Powers S, Zhu W, Hannun YA. Substantial contribution of extrinsic risk factors to cancer development. Nature. 2016;529(7584):43-7.

Herrero R, Park JY, Forman D. The fight against gastric cancer–the IARC Working Group report. Best Practice Res Clin Gastroenterol. 2014;28(6):1107-14.

Islam A, Akhter A, Eden T. Cost of treatment for children with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in Bangladesh. J Cancer Policy. 2015;6:37-43.

Carone G, Schwierz C, Xavier A. Cost-containment policies in public pharmaceutical spending in the EU. 2012;2161803.

Palmieri LJ, Dubreuil O, Bachet JB, Trouilloud I, Locher C, Coriat R et al. Reasons for chemotherapy discontinuation and end-of-life in patients with gastrointestinal cancer: A multicenter prospective AGEO study. Clin Res Hepatol Gastroenterol. 2021;45(1):101431.

Won HS, Der Sheng Sun JY, An HJ, Ko YH. Factors associated with treatment interruption in elderly patients with cancer. Korean J Internal Med. 2019;34(1):156.

Kemp A, Preen DB, Saunders C, Boyle F, Bulsara M, Malacova E et al. Early discontinuation of endocrine therapy for breast cancer: who is at risk in clinical practice? Springerplus. 2014;3(1):1-0.

Chen G, Wu Q, Jiang H, Zhang H, Peng J, Hu J et al. Fear of disease progression and psychological stress in cancer patients under the outbreak of COVID‐19. Psycho-oncology. 2020;10.1002/pon.5451.

Zakaria M, Karim R, Rahman M, Cheng F, Xu J. Disparity in physician-patient communication by ethnicity: evidence from Bangladesh. Int J Equity in Health. 2021;20(1):1-9.

Else-Quest, NM, Jackson, TL. Cancer stigma. In: Corrigan, P (ed.) The Stigma of Disease and Disability. Washington, DC: Am Psychological Asso. 2014;165-82.

Daher M. Cultural beliefs and values in cancer patients. Anna Oncol. 2012;23:66-9.

Weiss J, Yang H, Weiss S, Rigney M, Copeland A, King JC et al. Stigma, self-blame, and satisfaction with care among patients with lung cancer. J Psychosocial Oncol. 2017;35(2):166-79.

Phelan SM, Griffin JM, Jackson GL, Zafar SY, Hellerstedt W et al. Stigma, perceived blame, self‐blame, and depressive symptoms in men with colorectal cancer. Psycho‐Oncology. 2013;22(1):65-73.

Holman D. Exploring the relationship between social class, mental illness stigma and mental health literacy using British national survey data. Health (London). 2015;19:413 29.

Haque N, Uddin AFMK, Dey BR, Islam F, Goodman A. Challenges to cervical cancer treatment in Bangladesh: The development of a women’s cancer ward at Dhaka Medical College Hospital. Gynecol Oncol Rep. 2017;21(6):67-72.