Objectives: To determine the delay between the onset and the diagnosis and treatment of patients with lung cancer in two cancer centres in the Eastern Black Sea Region of Turkey.
Subjects and methods: The records of 226 patients (217 males, 9 females) were evaluated retrospectively for the dates noted for the onset of symptoms, first presentation to a physician, histopathological diagnosis and start of treatment. The median time intervals from the appearance of the first symptom to definitive diagnosis and treatment were calculated.
Results: The patients presented to their physicians 30 (range 2-365) days after their complaints began. The time that elapsed between admission and histopathological diagnosis and between the diagnosis and initiation of therapy were 8 (range 1-210) and 17.5 days (range 0-206), respectively. The median time span from presentation to treatment was 30 days (range 1-253). There were no significant time interval differences between onset of symptoms and first presentation and the subsequent diagnostic and therapeutic processes for histopathology, stage of the tumour and treatment procedures (p > 0.05).
Conclusion: Reasons for the delayed treatment of lung cancer patients were late presentation to the physician and the long time interval between tissue diagnosis and treatment. This delay was mostly associated with a large number of patients and delayed appointments for imaging procedures--the result of organisational problems within the health services of Turkey.
Copyright 2004 S. Karger AG, Basel