The initial cancer pathway for children - one-fourth wait more than 3 months

Acta Paediatr. 2012 Jun;101(6):655-62. doi: 10.1111/j.1651-2227.2012.02625.x. Epub 2012 Mar 2.


Aim: To determine the time intervals from symptom to treatment for childhood cancer patients.

Methods: Danish national population-based study. Children (<15 years) with an incident cancer diagnosed from January 2007 to December 2010 were sampled. A total of 376 (68%) parents and 315 (87%) general practitioners (GPs) completed questionnaires on the diagnostic pathway. The time interval was categorized into, patient-, GP-, system-, diagnostic- and total intervals, and as short or long intervals. Factors associated with long time intervals were assessed in a logistic regression model using prevalence ratios (PRs).

Results: Girls were almost twice as likely as boys to experience long patient intervals (adjusted PR: 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI): 1.1-2.8). The oldest children were more likely than the youngest to experience long total intervals (adjusted PR: 1.9, 95% CI: 1.1-3.3). Cancer type was associated with all time intervals, except GP intervals. Children with bone- and CNS tumours had the longest total intervals (median: 88 days, interquartile interval (IQI): 57-132) vs. (median: 76, IQI: 28-191). Parental education showed a possible association with patient- and GP intervals.

Conclusion: Time intervals varied by gender, age and cancer type. Parental education may possibly affect the patient- and GP intervals.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Cohort Studies
  • Critical Pathways / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Infant
  • Male
  • Neoplasms / therapy*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Time Factors