Diagnostic Wait Time Impacts Patients’ Risk of Cancer
Posted on May 25, 2018 in Medical Malpractice by Folkman
New research shows that after a positive cancer screening result, it is important for patients to seek further testing as soon as possible to increase their chances of a good outcome. According to a recent study led by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, the longer a patient waits for diagnostic testing, the worse their cancer prognosis may be. This information reaffirms existing perspectives on aggressive follow-up care for cancer patients.
Cancer experts from the Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening Through Personalized Regimes Consortium studied articles published between January 1998 and December 2017 regarding patient outcomes among populations with average cancer risk. The data confirmed what most physicians already believed; waiting too long for diagnostic testing after a cancer diagnosis increases the chance of a poor outcome.
Research shows that many patients who do not seek follow-up testing right away may put it off altogether. Also, delaying testing gives more aggressive cancers time to progress and become difficult to treat. Delays also leave room for insurance changes and other logistical issues that can interfere with testing.
The study focused primarily on the four types of cancer that require further diagnostic testing: breast, cervical, colorectal, and lung cancers. Though some types of cancers take longer to progress than others, the study’s authors recommend that patients undergo additional testing between 60 to 90 days after a positive diagnosis. The researchers caution that patients with less-aggressive forms of cancer should never assume they have more time for testing as every person’s experience with cancer is unique.
The physicians involved in the study say that prompt testing often helps to reduce anxiety about diagnostic procedures and results. More time to wait often means more time to worry for many patients. Given what we know about diagnostic wait time and cancer progression, the authors of the study want to examine which groups of people are least likely to pursue timely diagnostic testing and why. They want to help patients overcome the socioeconomic barriers limiting access to crucial follow-up healthcare to ensure that every American diagnosed with cancer has the best tools for survival.
Given all that we know about how important it is for cancer patients to seek additional diagnostic testing sooner rather than later, it is crucial for doctors to order the right testing in a timely manner. Diagnosis delays or treatment delays can have devastating consequences.
South Jersey Medical Malpractice Lawyers at Folkman Law Offices, P.C. Fight for Patients Harmed by a Delayed Diagnosis
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