Tags: breast | cancer | treat | delay

Experts: Don’t Delay Breast Cancer Treatment

Monday, 03 December 2012 11:22 AM

Delaying treatment for advanced breast cancer as little as two months has a “profound effect” in reducing a woman’s odds of survival, a new study has found.
Research led by the Ohio State University Comprehensive Cancer Center shows women who wait more than 60 days to begin treatment face significantly higher risks of dying than those who start therapy shortly after diagnosis.
"We wanted to see whether delaying treatment affected mortality rates among women with breast cancer," said Electra D. Paskett, who helped conduct the study, published online in the Journal of Clinical Oncology. "It's been shown that early detection and appropriate, timely treatment can increase 5-year survival rates to as high as 98 percent. Until this study, we didn't know the profound effect delaying treatment could have."

Researchers examined the medical charts of 1,786 women enrolled in North Carolina Medicaid system who were diagnosed with breast cancer from 2000 to 2002; their health was tracked through 2006.
About two-thirds of the women started treatment within 30 days, and 90 percent began within 60 days. Researchers found no difference in survival rates for those treated within 60 days. But for the one in 10 patients who delayed treatment for at least 60 days after a cancer diagnosis, the death rate from cancer was 85 percent higher than for those treated earlier. What’s more, researchers found a 66 percent higher risk of death overall among women who put off treatment.
"We're finding as we do research, it is really the lower-income population that suffers the highest burden of all diseases," said Paskett. "This study suggests that 10 percent of women can't get access to care, or it takes a longer time to get access to care.
"This research shows we have an opportunity to improve breast cancer outcomes by helping women who are diagnosed at late-stage to get started with treatment sooner. Even if the goal of treatment isn't curative, early treatment seems to prolong survival."
The study was funded by the National Cancer Institute.

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Delaying treatment for breast cancer as little as 60 days can reduce a woman’s odds of survival.
Monday, 03 December 2012 11:22 AM
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