Associations Between Time to Treatment Start and Survival in Patients With Lung Cancer
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIn Vivo. 2021, 35 (3), 1595-1603. 10.21873/invivo.12416
Background: Time-to-treatment is defined as a quality indicator for cancer care but is not well documented. We investigated whether meeting Norwegian timeframes of 35/42 days from referral until start of chemotherapy or surgery/radiotherapy for lung cancer was associated with survival. Patients and Methods: The medical records of 439 lung cancer patients at a regional cancer center were reviewed and categorized according to treatment: (i) surgery; ii) radical radiotherapy; iii) stereotactic radiotherapy; iv) palliative treatment, no cancer symptoms; v) palliative treatment with severe cancer symptoms). Results: Proportions receiving timely treatment varied significantly at 39%, 48%, 10%, 44% and 89%, respectively (p<0.001). Overall, those starting treatment on time had the shortest median overall survival (10.6 vs. 22.6 months; p<0.001). This was also the case for palliative (5.3 vs. 11.4 months) (p<0.001) but not for curative treatment (not reached vs. 38.3 months) (p=0.038). Conclusion: Timely treatment is not necessarily associated with improved survival.