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Int J Oral Maxillofac Surg. 2019 Sep;48(9):1131-1137. doi: 10.1016/j.ijom.2019.02.015. Epub 2019 Mar 13.

Delays in oral cavity cancer.

Author information

1
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada.
2
Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, McGill University Health Centre, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address: nicholas.makhoul@mcgill.ca.

Abstract

While the prognosis for early-stage oral cavity cancer is relatively good; the majority of patients are still diagnosed with advanced-stage disease on presentation with an associated poorer prognosis. The aims of this review are to summarize our current understanding of delays in oral cavity cancer and their impact on stage at diagnosis and survival. The delays pathway can be subdivided into three components: patient, professional, and treatment delays. Patient delay represents the longest interval in the delays pathway usually lasting between 2 and 5 months and being most influenced by cognitive and psychosocial factors. Professional and treatment delays are shorter in most studies, but highly variable depending on the respective healthcare system. Most studies indicate that advanced stage at diagnosis, primary treatment with radiotherapy, treatment at an academic center, and transitions in care are associated with an increased treatment delay. Based on our current understanding, a delay between definitive diagnosis and treatment of 4-6 weeks seems acceptable from an oncologic perspective. Further studies are needed to better define what a 'safe' waiting time is and to understand the psychological impact of delays for patients.

KEYWORDS:

Oral cancer; patient delay; professional delay; squamous cell carcinoma; treatment delay

PMID:
30878273
DOI:
10.1016/j.ijom.2019.02.015
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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