According to a new study by researchers at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, delaying lung cancer surgery for more than 12 weeks from the date of diagnosis with CT scan is associated with higher risk of recurrence and death. The study has been published online in JAMA Network Open. Non-small cell lung cancer accounts for 84% of all lung cancer cases and the overall five-year survival rate is 25%, according to the American Cancer Society.
For patients with early-stage non-small cell lung cancer, surgical removal of tumor-infested lung or of smaller lung section is the only treatment option. But, some patients often postpone the surgery due to some economic or social factors. One of the factors is worrying about contracting COVID-19 in a clinical setting has also led to delays. In this study, they have found that patients with early-stage cancer have the best survival chance. The aim of the study was to provide more uniform data by tracking patients with most recent CT scan diagnosis to surgery. They found that recurrence was more likely to occur in patients who had postponed surgery. Also, for each week of delay, the risk of recurrence increased, although modestly.
Brendan T. Heiden, M.D., from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, Missouri and colleagues conducted a retrospective study to quantify surgical treatment delay and examine its correlation with oncologic outcomes in cohort of 9904 patients. The researchers have found that Time to Surgery (TTS) was not associated with an elevated risk for pathologic upstaging or positive margins.
“Efforts to minimize delays in surgical procedures for lung cancer are essential to decrease the risk of disease recurrence and the associated worse prognosis. Such endeavors are particularly important in the face of compromised access to care during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic,” the authors write. They plan to continue research into other aspects of surgical delays.
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