Evaluation of waiting times for breast cancer diagnosis and surgical treatment
To analyse any delays in breast cancer diagnosis and surgical treatment, influence of clinical and biological factors and influence of delays on survival.
A descriptive, observational, and retrospective study was conducted between 2006 and 2016 on stages I–III breast cancer patients. This is a retrospective review of health records to collect data on delays, patients’ clinical data, biological features of the tumour and information on treatment. Mortality data from the National Death Index.
In 493 evaluable patients, the median of days from the first symptom to mammography, biopsy, and surgery was 41, 57, and 92, respectively. The median of days from screening mammography to biopsy and surgery was 10 and 51, respectively. From biopsy to surgery, the median was 34 days in every case. Over the last 5 years, an increase in biopsy–surgery delay has been observed (p = 0.0001). Tumour stages I and II vs. stage III (RR 1.74. 95% CI 1.08–2.80, p = 0.027), diagnosis in screening (RR 0.66. 95% CI 0.45–0.96, p = 0.030), and use of magnetic resonance imaging (RR 2.08. 95 CI 1.21–3.56, p = 0.008) condition a greater biopsy–surgery delay. No influence of delays on survival has been identified.
Delays in diagnosis and surgery in the case of women diagnosed on the basis of symptoms may be improved. There is a temporary tendency to a greater delay in surgery. Some clinical and biological factors must be taken into account to optimise delays. Survival results are not adversely affected by delays.
KeywordsBreast cancer Surgery Delay Diagnosis
Compliance with ethical standards
Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
The required favourable report of the institution’s Research Ethics Committee was requested and obtained.
Since it is a retrospective study based on the data contained in the medical histories and there has been no intervention or risks to patients, their informed consent was not necessary.