Background: The incidence of brain tumours in India equate to half of
those in the developed world. Delayed diagnosis is associated with a
higher risk of life-threatening neurological complications at
presentation and poor cognitive outcomes amongst survivors. Early
detection and treatment is crucial for improving outcomes. Aims: The aim
of this study was to analyse baseline diagnostic intervals for
paediatric brain tumours in Tamil Nadu. Methods: Data for this
retrospective study was collected via questionnaire across 8 different
hospitals in Tamil Nadu. It consisted of 14 questions where doctors were
asked to record data items including the date of symptom onset, first
presentation to healthcare and date of diagnosis. Results: 114 children
were diagnosed with a brain tumour between January 2018 – October 2020.
The average diagnostic interval was 9.3 weeks (median 3.5 weeks), and
the average patient interval is 6.1 weeks (median 0.6 weeks.). Low-grade
tumours had the longest median total diagnostic interval of 6.6 weeks.
The median total diagnostic interval was significantly higher in
villages (7.9 weeks), as compared to patients located in District (4.8
weeks) and cities (2.3 weeks). Conclusion: Overall, the diagnostic
interval for paediatric brain tumours were comparable to data in the UK.
Moreover, all patients received an MRI within a day, indicating
excellent infrastructure.. However, many low-grade and optic pathway
tumours were unaccounted for. Tamil Nadu has one of the best healthcare
systems in India and extending this methodology to areas with poorer
healthcare provisions, is required to get representative national data.