Breast cancer studies have looked at how cancer genetics, size, co-existing medical conditions and socioeconomic status affect outcome, but for the first time a study has looked at how delayed treatment affects survival. A new study looked at how a delay in treatment after biopsy confirmed diagnosis affects patient survival and found that for late stage cancers, this amount of treatment delay led to lower survival compared with other women similarly staged who did not suffer a delay in treatment. The study involved Medicaid patients in North Carolina who were diagnosed in 2000 – 2002 and were followed until July 2006.
Previous studies failed to identify an association between treatment delay and lower survival due to failure to look at a sufficient amount of time delay. Patients in this study also had lower socioeconomic status, were more likely to be non-white and older. The study did not address other external factors caused the delay or whether it was the medical system that caused it. However, the results indicate that women with newly diagnosed breast cancer should be provided with expedient treatment, since the true extent of the disease is often not known until surgical pathology results are available.
Britcher Leone & Roth has helped many women who have questions about whether there was a misdiagnosis of their breast cancer or whether the treatment provided gave them a reasonable chance of cure. Now an additional factor that needs to assessed when analyzing delayed diagnosis of breast cancer is how long did it take to get from diagnosis to treatment.