Wait times for breast cancer care

N. Saint-Jacques, T. Younis, R. Dewar, D. Rayson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Citations (Scopus)


Measurement of care time intervals is complex, being influenced by many factors. The definition of the care interval monitored can also bias the detection of changes in waits. The implications of using different care interval definitions to report wait times and identify delays in care provision were examined using a retrospective chart review of 637 women with surgically treated breast cancer who were referred to a cancer centre between September 1999 and 2000 or September 2003 and 2004. Overall waits between detection and adjuvant treatment increased by 12 days over the two periods, but their exact location and cause(s) could not be determined at such a low-resolution interval. At higher resolutions of care intervals, reporting the comprehensive sequence of care events, the prolongation was mainly associated with delayed access to surgery (4 days) and delivery of adjuvant chemotherapy (4 days). The latter went unnoticed when waits were reported at intermediate (referral to adjuvant treatment) and low (detection to adjuvant treatment) resolutions. Disease stage and type of first adjuvant treatment consistently and significantly influenced the length of waits. Comprehensive monitoring of the entire care path is essential to effectively prioritize interventions, assess their outcomes and optimise access to cancer care.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)162-168
Number of pages7
JournalBritish Journal of Cancer
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 15 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Breast cancer
  • Care interval resolution
  • Elapsed times
  • Targeted intervention
  • Waiting times

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


Dive into the research topics of 'Wait times for breast cancer care'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this