Waiting between breast cancer diagnosis and treatment


Daniel Rayson and colleagues suggest their study of the elapsed time from breast cancer detection to first adjuvant therapy in Nova Scotia may point the way toward ways to minimize intervals between steps in breast cancer care.

The authors analyzed 364 patients diagnosed with breast cancer between Sept. 1, 1999 and Sept. 1, 2000. They report that the median elapsed time between initial detection of breast cancer to start of first adjuvant therapy was 91 days, with 25% of patients experiencing a median interval of 123 days. Patients with stage I disease experienced longer intervals than did those with more advanced disease, and patients aged 70 years or more experienced longer waits than younger patients.

The authors point out that there are few data on the optimal timing of sequential steps in breast cancer care. However, they suggest a multidisciplinary approach would incorporate a simultaneous rather than a sequential decision and treatment process. This shift could help reduce anxiety, frustration and a potential mistrust of the cancer care system, while still allowing sufficient time for digesting information and recovering from procedures.

Source: Eurekalert & others

Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 21 Feb 2009
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