Colombian experience regarding skin cancer: Healthcare-related barriers to access to healthcare and bureaucratic itineraries

Guillermo Sánchez-Vanegas, Cesar E. Abadía-Barrero, Fernando De la Hoz, John Nova, Emma López

Research output: Contribution to journalResearch Articlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


Objectives: Describing and understanding the experiences of people suffering non-melanoma skin cancer in their struggles to recuperate, deciphering their itinerary regarding their health-seeking behavior, describing the relationship between patients and the Colombian healthcare system by referring to the number of pertinent writs and the percentage of denied services, and documenting the determinants which are related to timely diagnosis. Methods: This was a mixed-methods study, combining epidemiology and critical medical anthropology; the study involved a retrospective cohort of 369 people, 3 focus groups including 48 participants and in-depth interviews regarding 20 cases. Results: The data revealed specific healthcare system-related barriers to access to healthcare, intermediate barriers (work-related and geographical) and structural barriers (economic-, income-, purchasing power-, social cohesion- and educationrelated). Timely diagnosis was made in 32.5 % of the reported cases. Related determinants consisted of educational level equal to or above technical training (OR 4.4), home ownership (OR 4.8), living in an urban area (OR 3.5) and contributory regime affiliation (OR 1.9); 28 % of the people involved in the study reported that they had been denied access to a service (biopsy, surgery) and the rate of resorting to legal means (i.e. writs) was 5 out of every 100 new cases per year. The itinerary from the time of the appearance of a particular disease to definitive resolution was established. Discussion: People living in unfavorable social conditions were involved in the severest cases and, paradoxically, faced the largest set of barriers to access to healthcare in Colombia. Such barriers extend beyond the healthcare system and will not become resolved solely through healthcare reform.

Translated title of the contributionCáncer de piel: Barreras de acceso e itinerario burocrático. Una experiencia Colombiana
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)671-683
Number of pages13
JournalRevista de Salud Publica
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Medicine


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