Assessment of time intervals in the pathway to oral cancer diagnosis in north-westerm Spain. Relative contribution of patient interval

  1. Pablo Ignacio Varela Centelles 3
  2. José Luis López-Cedrún Cembranos 4
  3. J. Fernández Sanromán 5
  4. Pablo Álvarez Nóvoa 1
  5. Ramón Luaces Rey 4
  6. María Pombo Castro 4
  7. María Pía López Jornet 2
  8. Juan Manuel Seoane Lestón 1
  1. 1 Dept of Medical-Surgical Specialities. University of Santiago de Compostela. Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña). Spain
  2. 2 Faculty of Medicine. University of Murcia. Murcia. Spain
  3. 3 Primary Care Clinics. CS Praza do Ferrol. EOXI Cervo, Lugo, e Monforte de Lemos. Galician Health Service. Lugo. Spain; Dept of Medical-Surgical Specialities. University of Santiago de Compostela. Santiago de Compostela (A Coruña). Spain
  4. 4 Service of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. Complexo Hospitalario Universitario de A Coruña (CHUAC). Galician Health Service. A Coruña. Spain
  5. 5 Service of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. POVISA Hospital. Vigo. (Pontevedra). Spain
Medicina oral, patología oral y cirugía bucal. Ed. inglesa

ISSN: 1698-6946

Ano de publicación: 2017

Volume: 22

Número: 4

Páxinas: 7

Tipo: Artigo

DOI: 10.4317/MEDORAL.21676 DIALNET GOOGLE SCHOLAR lock_openAcceso aberto editor

Outras publicacións en: Medicina oral, patología oral y cirugía bucal. Ed. inglesa

Objetivos de desarrollo sostenible


Despite continuous advances in diagnosis and therapy, oral cancers are mostly diagnosed at advanced stages with minor survival improvements in the last two decades. Both phenomena have been attributed to delays in the diagnosis. This study aims at quantifying the time elapsed until definitive diagnosis in these patients and the patient interval’s contribution. A hospital-based, ambispective, observational study was undertaken on incident cases with a pathological diagnosis of oral squamous cell carcinoma recruited during 2015 at the Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery services of CHUAC (A Coruña) and POVISA (Vigo) hospitals. 74 consecutive oral cancer patients (59.5% males; median age: 65.0 years (IQ:57-74)) were studied. Most cases (52.7%; n=39) were at advanced stages (TNM III-IV) at diagnosis. The period since first sign/symptom until the patient seeks health care was the longest interval in the pathway to diagnosis and treatment (median: 31.5 days; IQR= 7.0 – 61.0) and represents >60% of the interval since symptom onset until referral to specialised care (pre-referral interval). The average interval assigned to the patient resulted to be relatively larger than the time elapsed since the patient is seen at primary care until a definitive diagnosis is reached (diagnostic interval). Median of the referral interval for primary care professionals: 6.5 days (IQR= 0.0 – 49.2) and accounts for 35% (19% - 51%) of the diagnostic interval. The patient interval is the main component of the pathway to treatment since the detection of a bodily change until the definitive diagnosis. Therefore, strategies focused on risk groups to shorten this interval should be implemented in order to ease an early diagnosis of symptomatic oral cancer.

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