A new study published in the Medical Journal of Australia reveals that women with breast cancer who experience treatment delays beyond the recommended timeframe have a 43% higher risk of death from the disease. The research examined the relationship between breast cancer survival and timeliness of treatment based on the 2020 Australian guidelines.
According to Dr. Kou Kou, the lead author of the study, between 33% to 52% of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not receive timely treatment. The study found that any delay in initiating or continuing treatment is associated with poorer survival outcomes. The researchers identified six treatment intervals outlined in the guidelines for early breast cancer, including diagnosis to neoadjuvant therapy, neoadjuvant therapy to surgery, diagnosis to surgery, surgery to chemotherapy, surgery to radiotherapy, and chemotherapy to radiotherapy.
Researchers at the Cancer Council Queensland conducted a population-based cohort study of women diagnosed with invasive breast cancer between March 2010 and June 2013. They compared the treatment intervals for each participant with the recommended guidelines and found that the risk of death from breast cancer significantly increased for women who had treatment intervals longer than the recommended timeframes.
There are various reasons why women may experience delays in treatment, such as living in regional or remote areas, using public screening facilities, starting or completing treatment during certain months, lack of family history of ovarian or breast cancer, smoking, lower household income, and absence of private health insurance.
The researchers emphasize the importance of following the 2020 Australian guidelines for the treatment of early breast cancer to ensure timely and effective treatment. They urge clinicians to adhere to these guidelines to improve the chances of survival for their patients.
Source: Medical Journal of Australia.