Risk of Cancer Outcomes Worsens When Patients Wait for Diagnostic Tests, Study Finds

Risk of Cancer Outcomes Worsens When Patients Wait for Diagnostic Tests, Study Finds
Cancer patients who wait longer from a positive screening result to a diagnostic test have a higher risk for worse outcomes, according to researchers who reviewed cancer studies. The review included studies of lung, colorectal, cervical, and breast cancer, and was recently published in the journal CA Cancer by researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. The study, "Timely Follow-Up of Positive Cancer Screening Results: A Systematic Review and Recommendations from the PROSPR Consortium," was conducted by an interdisciplinary team of experts from the Population-Based Research Optimizing Screening Through Personalized Regimens Consortium (PROSPR). After a patient receives a positive cancer result from a screening test, the next recommended step is a follow-up evaluation that includes diagnostic testing like a CT scan to confirm the absence or presence of cancer and its severity. According to the new findings, people who receive a positive screening should schedule a diagnostic test as soon as possible. "To ignore these findings is not patient-centered," Chyke Doubeni, MD, lead author of the review, said in a press release. "The longer a patient waits, the less likely they are to get the diagnostic testing done. There is also the risk that precancerous or early tumors will become more advanced cancers that are more difficult or impossible to cure." Each patient's cancer evolves differently, which makes it difficult to agree on standard t
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