Original Study| Volume 24, ISSUE 2, e87-e93, March 2023

Timeliness of Lung Cancer Care From the Point of Suspicious Image at an Urban Safety Net Hospital

Published:December 24, 2022DOI:



      Timeliness of care is an important metric for lung cancer patients, and care delays in the safety-net setting have been described. Timeliness from the point of the suspicious image is not well-studied. Herein, we evaluate time intervals in the workup of lung cancer at an urban, safety net hospital and assess for disparities by demographic and clinical factors.

      Patients and Methods

      We performed a retrospective analysis of lung cancer patients receiving some portion of their care at Boston Medical Center between 2015 and 2020. A total of 687 patients were included in the final analysis. Median times from suspicious image to first treatment (SIT), suspicious image to diagnosis (SID), and diagnosis to treatment (DT) were calculated. Nonparametric tests were applied to assess for intergroup differences in time intervals.


      SIT, SID, and DT for the entire cohort was 78, 34, and 32 days, respectively. SIT intervals were 87 days for females and 72 days for males (p < .01). SIT intervals were 106, 110, 81, and 41 days for stages I, II, III, and IV, respectively (p < .01). SID intervals differed between black (40.5) and Hispanic (45) patients compared to white (28) and Asian (23) patients (p < .05).


      Advanced stage at presentation and male gender were associated with more timely treatment from the point of suspicious imaging while white and Asian were associated with more timely lung cancer diagnosis. Future analyses should seek to elucidate drivers of timeliness differences and assess for the impact of timeliness disparities on patient outcomes in the safety net setting.



      (SIT) (suspicious image to first treatment), (SID) (suspicious image to diagnosis), (DT) (diagnosis to treatment), (NSCLC) (non-small cell lung cancer), (SCLC) (small cell lung cancer), (BTS) (British Thoracic Society), (RAND) (Research and Development), (VA) (Veterans Affairs)
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