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Lung Cancer Pathways

How Can We Reduce Wait Times in Lung Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment?

Dr. Anthony Reiman
Medical Oncologist, Saint John Regional Hospital
Canadian Cancer Society Research Chair, University of New Brunswick
Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Dr. Amy Groom
Medical Oncologist, Saint John Regional Hospital
Assistant Professor, Department of Medicine, Dalhousie University

Lung cancer is the most frequently diagnosed cancer in New Brunswick (NB) men, and the second most common cancer diagnosed in NB women. It is also a lethal cancer, with an estimated 600 deaths from the disease provincially in 2017. Unfortunately, 44% of New Brunswickers are diagnosed with advances (Stage IV) lung cancer which is associated with an approximately 1% chance of 5-year survival. Without treatment, the median survival rate for Stage IV lung cancer is 3.9 months; this short time span highlights the narrow window of opportunity to achieve a timely diagnosis and treatment initiation in this population. The purpose of this study was to describe the time through the lung cancer pathway for lung cancer patients seeking treatment at the Saint John Regional Hospital. We did a retrospective chart review to identify the date of diagnostic and treatment points for lung cancer patients in 2018, and used these to quantify the time between: (1) initial chest x-ray suspicious for lung cancer to treatment initiation, (2) initial chest x-ray to CT, (3) CT to first diagnostic biopsy, (4) CT to PET, and (5) biopsy to treatment. The information is important as it identifies areas for improvement. It can also be used as baseline data in future studies to investigate the effects of interventions (e.g., centralized referral models) or other extraneous circumstances (e.g., COVID-19). 

Study File #: N/A; Disease Pathway Management in Lung Cancer Care: Reducing Wait Time for Diagnosis and Treatment      

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