The wait time creep: Changes in the surgical wait time for women with uterine cancer in Ontario, Canada, during 2000–2009
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OBJECTIVE: Uterine cancer is a major cancer of women, with outcomes potentially worsening with delayed diagnosis or hysterectomy, the main treatment. Yet cancer surgery wait times are not reported by cancer site. This study sought to examine changes in wait times for uterine cancer surgery between 2000 and 2009 and to identify predictors of longer surgery wait times. METHODS: Population-based retrospective analysis of a cohort of uterine cancer patients diagnosed between April 2000 and March 2009. Using linked administrative data, all cases in which a patient had hysterectomy following diagnosis were identified. Wait time was defined as days from diagnosis of uterine cancer (day 0) to hysterectomy. Regression analysis was used to examine the relationship between covariates and wait time. RESULTS: Wait times increased steadily between 2000 and 2006 from a median of 34 to 54 days, followed by a plateau until 2009-during which patients waited a median of between 53 and 55 days for surgery after diagnosis. Overall, 55% of patients had a wait time longer than 6 weeks after diagnosis. Predictors of a wait time greater than 6 weeks included older age, region, lower income, later year of diagnosis, surgery by a gynaecologic oncologist, non-sarcoma histology group and having surgery in a teaching hospital. CONCLUSION: Over half of uterine cancer patients waited longer than the recommended 6 weeks for surgery. Future reporting of cancer wait times by each disease site regularly would help to identify progress to reduce wait times and opportunities for improvement.
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