Delayed Diagnosis Raises Bladder Cancer Death Risk

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CHICAGO—Delays in the diagnosis of bladder cancer confer an approximately 30% increased risk of death from the malignancy, researchers found.

Ryan C. Hedgepeth, MD, and colleagues at the University of Michigan Health System in Ann Arbor studied 29,826 patients who had medical claims for hematuria in the year preceding a bladder cancer diagnosis.

Subjects who had a short interval (less than three months) between the appearance of symptoms and bladder cancer diagnosis had significantly better survival than patients for whom the interval was more than nine months (70.9 vs. 50.9 months, respectively), according to data presented here at the American Urological Association annual meeting.

Those with a short interval to diagnosis were also significantly less likely to undergo aggressive treatment (8.6% vs. 10.1%).

After adjusting for gender, race, age, socioeconomic status, comorbidities, and disease grade and stage, patients whose interval between symptoms and diagnosis was more than nine months had a 29% increased risk of dying from bladder cancer.

The researchers noted that the survival differences were not explained by differences in disease severity or progression, indicating that other factors such as health care provider characteristics and patterns of care may play a significant role in the time to diagnosis and ultimate disease outcome.

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