Delays in diagnosis and therapy of gastric cancer and esophageal adenocarcinoma

R. Witzig, B. Schönberger, U. Fink, R. Busch, H. Gundel, A. Sendler, C. Peschel, J. R. Siewert, F. Lordick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Background and study aims: In the past, there were long delays in the diagnosis of patients with cancer of the stomach or esophagus. The objective of this study was to describe current delays in the diagnosis and treatment of gastric and esophageal adenocarcinoma and to compare the findings with those from an historical control population treated at the same institutions 10 years earlier. Patients and methods: Patients with biopsy-proven gastric cancer or esophageal adenocarcinoma who were treated at two academic medical centers in Germany between April and October 2003 were consecutively screened for eligibility to take part in the study. Medical charts for each patient were reviewed. Additional data were obtained via structured interviews. Main outcome measures were the total delay, and the delays related to patients themselves, to doctors, and to the hospital. Data were compared with those from a historic control group assessed in 1993. Results: The median total delay for patients with gastric cancer (n=104) was 3.5 months (range 0.3-29.6), and in patients with esophageal adenocarcinoma (n=22) the total delay was significantly shorter (median 2.2 months, range 1.2-11.7; P<0.05). Comparing these findings with those from an historic cohort of patients with gastric cancer (n=100) revealed a significant decrease in the total delay (3.5 versus 8.0 months, P < 0.001). Conclusions: The current findings indicate that delays in the diagnosis and treatment of gastric cancer have become significantly shorter within the last 10 years as our understanding of and ability to treat this form of cancer have improved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1122-1126
Number of pages5
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 2006
Externally publishedYes


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