Waiting times for radiotherapy: variation over time and between cancer networks in southeast England

D Robinson, T Massey, E Davies, Ruth Jack, A Sehgal, H Moller

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    32 Citations (Scopus)


    The aim of this study was to investigate variations in the length of time that patients with cancer wait from diagnosis to treatment with radiotherapy. A total of 57,426 men and 71,018 women diagnosed with cancer between 1992 and 2001 and receiving radiotherapy within 6 months of diagnosis were identified from the Thames Cancer Registry database. In total, 12 sites were identified for which a substantial number or proportion of patients received radiotherapy: head and neck, oesophagus, colon, rectum, lung, nonmelanoma skin cancer, breast, uterus, prostate, bladder, brain and non-Hodgkin's lymphoma. Median waiting times from diagnosis to radiotherapy were calculated, together with the proportion of patients who received radiotherapy within 60 days of diagnosis, and analysed by year of diagnosis, cancer site, deprivation quintile, age at diagnosis, sex and cancer network of either residence or treatment. Logistic regression was used to adjust the proportion receiving treatment within 60 days for the effects of the other factors. There were significant differences in the proportions receiving radiotherapy within 60 days between different networks and different cancer sites, which remained after adjustment. Median waiting times varied from 42 to 65 days across networks of residence, with the adjusted proportion treated within 60 days ranging from 44 to 71%. There was no difference between male and female patients after adjustment for the other factors, particularly site. There was a highly significant trend over time: the median wait increased from 45 days in 1992 to 76 days in 2001, while the adjusted proportion being treated within 60 days declined by almost a half, from 64 to 35%, over the same period.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1201 - 1208
    Number of pages8
    JournalBJC: British Journal of Cancer
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Apr 2005


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