Delay by internists in obtaining diagnostic biopsies in patients with suspected cancer

Sherif Farag, Michael D. Green, George Morstyn, William P. Sheridan, Richard M. Fox

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objective: To investigate the degree and type of delays in performing diagnostic biopsies in medical patients with suspected malignancy. Design: Retrospective survey of clinical histories of patients referred between January 1985 and March 1989. Setting: Inner city teaching hospital internal medicine (nononcologic) services. Patients: Patients with gastrointestinal and lung cancers, adenocarcinoma of unknown primary site, and lymphomas were referred as inpatients by internists. Two hundred fifty-five patients were eligible, and 177 were evaluable. Main Outcome Measures: The number, type, and results of tests done before and after biopsy were analyzed. Results: In 67% of patients the biopsied lesion was detected by the second day of evaluation; however, there was an 8- to 10-day delay before a biopsy was done. This delay was consistent across the four malignancy groups studied. Although logistic and other unavoidable delays occurred in 40% of the cases, in 60% delays could only be attributed to continued, frequently low yield, noninvasive tests. An average of 3.3 tests were made per patient, with only 24% leading to a definitive biopsy. Conclusion: Because of the performance of many other tests, a substantial delay exists in proceeding to biopsy during the diagnosis of cancer by internists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)473-478
Number of pages6
JournalAnnals of Internal Medicine
Volume116
Issue number6
StatePublished - Mar 1992
Externally publishedYes

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Biopsy
Neoplasms
Hospital Medicine
Gastrointestinal Neoplasms
Urban Hospitals
Internal Medicine
Teaching Hospitals
Inpatients
Lymphoma
Lung Neoplasms
Outcome Assessment (Health Care)

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

Cite this

Farag, S., Green, M. D., Morstyn, G., Sheridan, W. P., & Fox, R. M. (1992). Delay by internists in obtaining diagnostic biopsies in patients with suspected cancer. Annals of Internal Medicine, 116(6), 473-478.

Delay by internists in obtaining diagnostic biopsies in patients with suspected cancer. / Farag, Sherif; Green, Michael D.; Morstyn, George; Sheridan, William P.; Fox, Richard M.

In: Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 116, No. 6, 03.1992, p. 473-478.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Farag, S, Green, MD, Morstyn, G, Sheridan, WP & Fox, RM 1992, 'Delay by internists in obtaining diagnostic biopsies in patients with suspected cancer', Annals of Internal Medicine, vol. 116, no. 6, pp. 473-478.
Farag, Sherif ; Green, Michael D. ; Morstyn, George ; Sheridan, William P. ; Fox, Richard M. / Delay by internists in obtaining diagnostic biopsies in patients with suspected cancer. In: Annals of Internal Medicine. 1992 ; Vol. 116, No. 6. pp. 473-478.
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