Patients with resectable esophageal cancer are recommended to undergo chemoradiotherapy before esophagectomy. A longer time to surgery (TTS) and/or time to consultation (TTC) may be associated with inferior cancer-related outcomes and heightened anxiety. Thoracic cancer surgery centers (TCSCs) oversee esophageal cancer management, but differences in TTC/TTS between centers have not yet been examined. This Ontario population-level study used linked administrative healthcare databases to investigate patients with esophageal cancer between 2013–2018, who underwent neoadjuvant chemoradiotherapy and then surgery. TTC and TTS were time from diagnosis to the first surgical consultation and then to surgery, respectively. Patients were assigned a TCSC based on the location of the surgery. Patient, disease, and diagnosing physician characteristics were investigated. Quantile regression was used to model TTS/TTC at the 50th and 90th percentiles and identify associated factors. The median TTS and TTC were 130 and 29 days, respectively. The adjusted differences between the TCSCs with the longest and shortest median TTS and TTC were 32 and 18 days, respectively. Increasing age was associated with a 16-day longer median TTS. Increasing material deprivation was associated with a 6-day longer median TTC. Significant geographic variability exists in TTS and TTC. Therefore, the investigation of TCSC characteristics is warranted. Shortening wait times may reduce patient anxiety and improve the control of esophageal cancer.
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