Waiting Times for Tests and Treatments in Cancer
When it comes to cancer treatment, time is of the essence. The faster you get a precise diagnosis and treatment, the better your chances are of having a successful treatment outcome. And there’s no doubt that one of the biggest obstacles in standard cancer treatment today is the time it takes for patients to get proper tests and treatments.
For instance, it can take months – and often longer – between the time a patient initially complains of a potentially cancer-related symptom to the time they get a proper diagnosis and access to treatment. During this waiting period, the cancer can progress, and early treatment options are missed entirely. Getting immediate access to proper tests and treatments is critical to optimizing your treatment outcome: the speed with which your treatment team acts can literally be the difference between life and death.
Wait Times for Cancer Treatment in the US, Canada, and Beyond
Studies show that wait times in standard cancer care are a problem all around the world, with lengths generally continuing to increase. As such, the United States, Canada, and Europe are being confronted with the consequences – and recognizing that in order to decrease wait times, an increase in resources (time and budget) is vital. Wait times are also a problem in the East, especially in countries with less economic resources. Studies show that "in Thailand, at a single center, wait times exceeding 8 weeks for surgery in early stage cervical cancer care leads to worse outcomes."
- Wait times for cancer treatment in US
- Studies conducted in the US confirm that the health care system’s inability to deal with the number of cancer patients is a result of a lack of resources.
- "Specific stresses are seen in diagnostic (i.e., diagnostic radiology, interventional radiology, pathology) and treatment resources (number of quality oncology surgeons, operating room access, inpatient beds) [4,8,9,36,37,38]."
- "To compound this, fixed hospital budgets limit capacity and provide little incentive for medical staff to increase production. To deal with this problem, there has been a plea that wait times be considered when formulating national health policy."
- Wait times for cancer treatment in UK
- While wait times are typically worse in the United States than in the UK, the UK also struggles to meet the growing demand for cancer tests and treatments.
- Though their government has set target goals to reduce them, it’s common for patients to wait months to receive an MRI or PET/CT scan, which are only available in certain hospitals.
- Wait times for cancer treatment in Europe
- The OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) is taking significant strides in Europe to cut down on wait times by implementing laws that allow citizens to seek treatment in other European countries, if it’s faster.
- Their book Waiting Time Policies in the Health Sector: What Works? features studies and insights regarding this topic.
- It includes different policy approaches for reducing wait times, noting that: "These policies work only if they are accompanied by sanctions on health providers to ensure the guarantee is met or if they allow greater choice of health-care providers including the private sector."
- Wait times for cancer treatment in Canada
- The Canadian government has itself admitted in this proposal that inefficiencies in the standard health care system are failing patients.
- It is necessary to change the wait times in standard treatment (and that there are many areas in need of improvement).
- The private sector should be included in this transition, if other measures are not in place to guarantee that citizens have reduced wait times.
- Read more about wait times in Canada.
Cancer Treatment Waiting Times
Suffice it to say, standard health care systems around the world – including, most egregiously, Canada and America – are failing patients with current wait times. And while small steps are being taken at a government level to rectify this, the problem will not be solved tomorrow. It might possibly not even be solved in the next 10 or 20 years.
In the meantime, private precision oncology services like CTOAM exist to provide you with the resources and tools necessary to access the most innovative tests and treatments for cancer, immediately. This means you can take full advantage of early treatment options that can prevent your cancer from spreading, as well as bypass any unnecessary treatment. With precision oncology, you will know that you are getting the best cancer care science has to offer.
If you or a loved one has received a cancer diagnosis and would like more information on accessing the best tests and treatments, please email or call us us today. You can also book a 20 minute free consultation with Director of Scientific Research, Alex Rolland.