Introduction The gynaecological oncology service in Doha treats all women living in or visiting Qatar. Despite the quality and affordability of the service many women travel overseas for their treatment following diagnosis or present following previous treatment overseas requesting further management. Although they must perceive potential advantages which encourage them to do so, there are difficulties which could arise including delay in treatment of a malignancy that could affect their outcomes. We wished to understand the impact of travel overseas on the waiting time for treatment.
Methods All patients seen over a period of 3 yrs who had travelled overseas were identified. Records were reviewed to identify what impact the decision to travel abroad had made on the timing of their treatment. According to Qatari cancer treatment standards, treatment should be within 14 days of a decision made by MDT. We considered that a delay in treatment would reasonably be defined as an interval of >4 weeks.
Results 18% of patients (n=153/850) with a recorded care plan by the MDT sought medical treatment overseas between 4/2015 and 3/2018. Patients had 25 different nationalities; Qatari nationals represented the majority (40.5%). Patients travelled to 28 different destinations. Most travelled to the U.S.A(15.7%), Philippines(15%), the UK(10.5%) and Thailand(9.2%).
23.5% of patients had a delay in treatment; 9,2% had an unknown treatment timing plan. Most had delays of <6 weeks; 10% had significant delays of many weeks, months and even >1 year.
Conclusion The decision to travel overseas in our patients resulted in delays of treatment for roughly 1/4 of patients. In 10% these delays would be expected to have an adverse effect on outcomes.
Statistics from Altmetric.com
If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.