Timeliness of cancer care in a regional Victorian health service: a comparison of high-volume (lung) and low-volume (oesophagogastric) tumour streams
journal contributionposted on 05.05.2021, 05:56 by Mwila Kabwe, Amanda Robinson, Y Shethia, C Parker, R Blum, I Solo, M Leach
Background: Timeliness of cancer care is vital for improved survival and quality of life of patients. Service and care centralisation at larger-volume centres has been associated with improved outcomes. However, there is a lack of systematic data on the impact of tumour stream volume on timeliness of care. Aims: To investigate and compare timeliness of care for lung cancer, a high-volume (more commonly diagnosed) tumour stream, and oesophagogastric (OG) cancer, a low-volume (less commonly diagnosed) tumour stream, at a regional health service in Victoria, Australia. Methods: A retrospective cohort study comprising random samples of 75 people newly diagnosed with lung cancer (International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems-10 [ICD-10] diagnosis codes C34 in the Victorian Cancer Registry [VCR]) and 50 people newly diagnosed with OG cancer (ICD-10 diagnosis codes C15 or C16 in VCR) at one regional Victorian health service between 2016 and 2017. Binary logistic regression was used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between patient factors and suboptimal timeliness of care. Results: In comparison to OG cancer patients, lung cancer patients had reduced odds of suboptimal timeliness of care in reference to times outside OCP for referral to diagnosis (OR [95% CI] = 0.34 [0.14 to 0.83]) but increased odds of suboptimal timeliness for diagnosis to treatment (OR [95% CI] = 2.48 [1.01 to 6.09]). Conclusion: In the low-volume OG cancer stream, patients had longer wait times from referral to an MDM, where treatment decisions occur, but shorter time to commencement of first treatment. Conversely in the high-volume lung cancer group, there was delayed initiation of first treatment following presentation at MDM. There is need to explore ways to fast-track MDM presentation and commencement of therapy among people diagnosed with low-volume and high-volume cancers, respectively.