Diagnostic delay in pediatric malignancies--a population-based study

Acta Oncol. 2000;39(7):873-6. doi: 10.1080/028418600750063640.


This study describes the discovery and diagnosis of malignant tumors from a primary care perspective in a Swedish county. Between 1984 and 1995, 68 children between the ages 0-16 years were diagnosed with a malignant tumor giving an incidence of 14/100,000. Patient records from both primary care and hospital were analyzed for 64 children. Leukemia was diagnosed in 25 children, and brain tumors in 22 children. In 68% of the children the diagnostic process was initiated in primary care, and in 32% in specialist care. Median parent's delay (time from first symptoms to first consultation), and median doctor's delay (time from first consultation to diagnosis) were 5 and 3 weeks for children with brain tumors, and 1 and 0 weeks for children with leukemia. Median lag time (parent's + doctor's delay) was 9 weeks for patients with brain tumors and 3 weeks for children with leukemia.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain Neoplasms / diagnosis*
  • Child
  • Child Welfare*
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Leukemia / diagnosis*
  • Male
  • Primary Health Care*
  • Referral and Consultation*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Sweden
  • Time Factors