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Public health and cancer prevention: Success and future challenges in cancer policy
Date:12/6/2007

We think that timely treatment could make difference in patient care, said Hae Seong Park, M.D., M.P.H., a research coordinator in the Department of Oncology at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins.

As the study is based on the registry data from a single institution, further research is necessary to confirm the findings and to generalize the results. All of the patients had surgery either a lumpectomy or mastectomy between 2000 and 2005 at Johns Hopkins Hospital, including those who had a diagnostic biopsy at a different institution.

The researchers found that on average, Caucasian women were treated 28 days from diagnosis, compared to 34 days for African-American women. On average, women younger than 40 were treated within 21 days; patients 40-50 were treated within 28 days; women in their 50s were treated within 31 days; patients 60-70 were treated by 29.5 days after diagnosis; and women over age 70 had an average treatment interval of more than 33 days.

Investigators also looked at the place and year of diagnosis and found that the shortest interval, 24 days on average, occurred during 2000-2001; and the longest was 2002-2003 when the average interval was 34 days. Intervals were less in 2004-2005 (almost 30 days).

There were no significant differences in time to treatment based on the stage of cancer that a woman was diagnosed with, Park says. Although this is one factor that one might expect a time differential, we did not observe much difference, she said.

Worrisome to the researchers, however, was the finding that almost 24 percent of patients did not receive adjuvant therapy, such as chemotherapy or hormone therapy following surgery. Preliminary findings suggested that patients who had surgery more than 60 days from diagnosis received adjuvant therapy less frequently. This might be of greater importance, since we know that receiving adjuvant therapy does improve survival, Park
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Contact: Greg Lester
greg.lester@aacr.org
267-646-0554
American Association for Cancer Research
Source:Eurekalert

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