Determinants of delays in treatment initiation in children and adolescents diagnosed with leukemia or lymphoma in Canada
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Minimizing delays that may occur along the cancer care pathway requires an understanding of their determinants. Few studies on childhood cancers have been published on the factors that influence the time it takes for patients to get a first medical consultation (patient delay) and treatment (health care system [HCS] delay) once cancer symptoms have been recognized. Our objective was to assess factors related to disease, patient and HCS on patient and HCS delay for children and adolescents with leukemias and lymphomas in Canada. A prospective cohort study was conducted on subjects enrolled in the Treatment and Outcomes Surveillance program of the Canadian Childhood Cancer Surveillance and Control Program, a national surveillance program. We studied 963 leukemia and 397 lymphoma patients who were less than 19-years old at diagnosis in 1995-2000. Logistic regression models were used to measure the associations between candidate predictive factors and delays. Age was positively associated with patient delay for both leukemia and lymphoma patients, but not with HCS delay. Patients first seen in a hospital emergency room had a lower risk of HCS delay than patients first seen by a general practitioner. Cancer subtype was associated with patient delay for leukemia patients, and HCS delay for lymphoma patients. Longer patient delay was associated with a lower risk of long HCS delay for both cancers. Factors related to the patients, their disease and the HCS may exert different influences on varying segments of the care pathway of leukemia and lymphoma patients.
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