Journal article

Symptom duration and delay in referral for palliative radiotherapy in cancer patients: a pilot study

A Wirth, JG Smith, DL Ball, H Mameghan, J Corry, DLM Bernshaw, RM Drummond

MEDICAL JOURNAL OF AUSTRALIA | AUSTRALASIAN MED PUBL CO LTD | Published : 1998

Abstract

OBJECTIVE: To estimate the frequency of delay in referral for palliative radiotherapy (PRT), and to identify factors associated with delay. DESIGN: Prospective survey over three months in 1997. SETTING: Radiotherapy department of a cancer centre in Melbourne, Victoria. PARTICIPANTS: 158 consecutive patients prescribed PRT in the lung, breast, urology and haematology units. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURES: Duration of symptoms; incidence of "unreasonable" delay in referral; and incidence of negative clinical outcome associated with referral delay. RESULTS: The median duration of symptoms before prescription of radiotherapy was four weeks. Thirty-eight patients (24%) were considered to have had an unrea..

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