Should a 2 month wait in the public system from diagnosis to treatment be normal?

Keeping_positive1 Member Posts: 555
How can we consider a two month wait in the public system from diagnosis to treatment be considered normal.  This is not what the BCNA are telling us is a normal wait! Even before COVID a two month wait was also taking place in many public hospitals.  Why are we are we still putting up with this? 

We still have members waiting two months from diagnosis to treatment, and some public hospitals are much worse than others in this regard.  

Can some BCNA staff respond to members who are experiencing this extra long waiting time?  This is by no means a normal waiting time!  If it is a "normal" waiting time then please change the literature that public patients only wait about 4 weeks after diagnosis to treatment.  


  • FLClover
    FLClover Member Posts: 1,546
    I agree. I don’t think things should be too rushed, but I certainly wouldn’t want to be waiting 2 months! I’d go crazy, and rightfully so! There are cancers that are aggressive and making women wait that long could cause a much worse prognosis. I’m not sure what the reasons are, but it’s not good enough. There needs to be something done about this ASAP. 
  • Brenda5
    Brenda5 Member Posts: 2,423
    I've always had my doubts that doing biopsies without having a surgery date close after that it may contribute to releasing the cancer in to sentinel nodes. Once you start messing with it, take the darned thing out quickly. I may not have lymphodema today if that had been the case.
  • Afraser
    Afraser Member Posts: 4,388
    I think anxiety is the biggest problem with extended dates - whether the cancer actually spreads or not, the worry that it is doing so must be extreme. I had only six days between biopsies and surgery, three between confirmation of malignancy and surgery, and that was quite enough. Still got lymphoedema though, which I’ve attributed to the sheer number of lymph nodes removed (all enlarged and suspicious at biopsy time) although only the biopsied one turned out to be malignant. 
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,152
    Hi there
    i understand the “ standard” protocol is to have surgery within 30 days of diagnosis of breast cancer ( whether that be lumpectomy or mastectomy).
    But there is no doubt Covid 19 has had an impact on all areas of the health system including cancer screening and surgery.
    That doesn’t make it any easier for those who are waiting for surgery though.
    I had my surgery ( mastectomy) 6 weeks from diagnosis in late 2020 - a week of that was a delay where I couldn’t get scans as I got a cold and had to have a Covid 19 test and re schedule.
    Even though my breast cancer surgeon said my cancer was very slow growing I felt like I had the equivalent of a radioactive beacon in my breast and was riddled with anxiety.
    Hopefully things will be getting back to the way they were ( on close to it) soon and I do know that BCNA has been advocating on our behalf on this issue ( along with screening).

  • Lythe
    Lythe Member Posts: 65
    I had no idea people were waiting that long! I’m in the public system and was never more than 2 weeks from diagnosis/progression to treatment. And usually less. I guess it helps that I’m in a major city but I’m so sad any of our members are waiting those kinds of times. 
  • noosa_blue150
    noosa_blue150 Member Posts: 211
    edited March 2022
    May I clarify some information - I believe that depending on the type of cancer you have , and it’s size , it is quite normal,and acceptable practice NOT to have lumpectomy or surgery until you have had chemotherapy first in order to reduce the size of the tumour . 

    I was a public patient in Qld, before covid. For me.  I was diagnosed in June , had a biopsy taken , showing triple,positive ductal ca. I then had staging scans, and review by surg team then results reviewed by MD TEAM ( oncologist/surgeon/radiation drs) .All up , I was started on chemo about 4 weeks after initial,biopsy results back .. Surgery was not undertaken until,Jan some six months later , and I’d finished two rounds of chemo (AC and Taxcel)
    .  It took a while to get all those,reviews lined up and results in and that was in a non covid time. The MDT meet fortnightly for example. 
    I’m not sure what is,a normal,wait time I admit. Interesting to see the range of time people have experienced , and I can see how covid has possibly impacted that where staff shortages have occurred
  • Mez_BCNA
    Mez_BCNA Administrator, Staff, Member, Moderator Posts: 902
    edited March 2022
    Thankyou @Keeping_positive1 for bringing up this important topic. 

    It would must be incredibly challenging and create anxiety for many members experiencing delays in treatment or surgery. While each person's situation is different and we know a number of factors influences timeframes, you are always encouraged to bring up these delay concerns with your treating teams and ask them the reasons (Reference the Optimal
    Care Pathway for people with breast cancer
     in your discussion). It’s important to note that the optimal care pathways are cancer pathways, not clinical practice
    guidelines. The decision about ‘what’ treatment is given is a professional responsibility and will
    usually be based on current evidence, clinical practice guidelines and the patients’ preferences.

    Members can also refer to the  Breast Cancer:
    Your Guide to best cancer care
     This shorter guide for patients provides optimal timeframes within which tests or procedures should be completed, prompt lists to support patients to understand what might happen at each step of their cancer journey and to consider what questions to ask, and provide information to help patients and carers communicate with health professionals.

    Regardless of the timeframes you are experiencing or where you are in your breast cancer journey, we encourage you to call our member support team 1800500258 to discuss support options that may assist you.

    (Added note: If you have experienced delays greater than 30days for commencement of treatment or surgery as a category 1 patient, BCNA would like to hear from you
  • Julez1958
    Julez1958 Member Posts: 1,152
    Thanks Mez
    That is very helpful , I know I was told 30 days from diagnosis by the specialist to surgery where that is the first treatment ( as opposed to chemo first) as a guideline but these  guidelines suggest 5 weeks from that diagnosis.
    And of course they are just guidelines and every case is different.
    In my case I had to have a Petscan before my surgery was booked in due to the large size of my tumour (5.5 cm) and not everyone would have one of those.There may be other investigations too that not all would have.