- The median and 90th percentile radiation therapy wait time (days) from ready-to-treat to start of radiation for patients treated for all types of cancer and for the four most common cancers.
- The percentage of radiation therapy cases for which the above wait time was within target timeframes
Population: All cancer patients receiving radiation therapy in 2014 who have wait time data collected as consistent with the specifications of this indicator.
Data source: Provincial cancer agencies
Measurement timeframe: 2014 treatment year
Stratification variables: Province, disease site (all cancers, breast, colorectal, lung, prostate)
Provinces submitting data: BC, AB, MB, ON, QC, NB, NS, PE, NL
Province specific notes:
- BC: Brachytherapy was not included.
- AB: data include all cases who had radiation therapy at a Cancer Control Alberta Facility with their first treatment between January 2, 2014 – December 31, 2014; it includes those who were living in another province at time of diagnosis but receiving radiation therapy in Alberta. Tumor group classification for this indicator is based on referral tumor groups. Brachytherapy was not included.
- ON: Only provided the percentage of radiation therapy cases for which the wait time was within target < 14 days from February to December 2014. QC: Only provided the percentage of radiation therapy cases for which the wait time was within target timeframes.
- NS: Patients with more than one treated disease may have contributed to more than one wait time. Procedures around specifying ready-to-treat date have not accurately captured the relevant date for prostate and breast patients, so the wait times for these two cancers are not reported.
- PE: Could not provide site-specific wait times.
Provincial definitions of “Ready to Treat”:
- BC: The date at which both oncologist and patient agree that treatment can commence. Being ready to treat requires that all diagnostic tests and procedures required to assess the appropriateness of, indications for, and fitness to undergo radiation therapy are complete.
- AB: The date when the patient is physically ready to commence treatment.
- SK: The date when the patient is ready to receive treatment, taking into account clinical factors and patient preference. In the case of radiation therapy, any preparatory activities (e.g., simulation, treatment planning, dental work) do not delay the ready to treat date.
- MB: The date when a decision has been made by the radiation oncologist and is agreed to by the patient that radiation therapy is appropriate and should commence AND the patient is medically ready to start treatment AND the patient is willing to start treatment.
- ON: The time from when the specialist is confident that the patient is ready to begin treatment to the time the patient receives treatment.
- QC: At consultation, the radiation oncologist enters the date at which the patient will be ready to treat on a formulary requesting treatment.
- NB: The date when any planned delay is over and the patient is ready to begin treatment from both a social/personal and medical perspective.
- NS: The date when all pre-treatment investigations and any planned delay are over, and the patient is ready to begin the treatment process from both asocial/personal and medical perspective. Nova Scotia did not have a ready to treat date until February 2010; a proxy date was used prior to this time.
- PE: The date when all pre-treatment investigations and any planned delay are over, and the patient is ready to begin the treatment process from both a social/personal and medical perspective.
- NL: The date when all pre-treatment investigations and any planned delay are over, and the patient is ready to begin the treatment process from both a social/ personal and medical perspective.
- All behavior codes are included.
- To identify breast, colorectal, lung, prostate cancer and all cancers, provinces included the morphology codes that are used within their registry.
- Only cases with external beam radiation therapy (EBRT) done in 2014 are included.
- Of note for breast cancer data, if the province obtains this data from a wait time database as opposed to a registry, then breast cancer cases were to be included per the database definition.
- There are known discrepancies in the ways in which different provinces measure wait times. One of the key sources of variation is the way the “ready-to-treat” timeframe is defined. Efforts are underway to standardize these definitions. The following section outlines the definitions used by the different provinces.