Fast vs. Regular Track for Lung and Pancreatic Cancer Diagnosis—Time from Initial Finding to Final Diagnosis and Patient Survival

Orit Rak, Damien Urban, Saritte Perlman, Tomer Ziv-Baran, Eldad Katorza

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Health systems around the world have begun implementing unique tracks to expedite diagnosis and improve survival of patients with suspected cancers. This study aimed to compare characteristics and survival between patients diagnosed by way of fast and regular diagnostic tracks. Methods: A historical cohort study of patients (age ≥ 18) diagnosed with lung or pancreatic cancers between 09/2017 and 03/2020 on a fast diagnostic track and treated in a tertiary hospital versus a random sample of patients with the same cancer types who began treatment in the hospital over the same period of time after being diagnosed utilizing the regular track in the community. Results: The study included 336 patients (108 fast-track diagnostics, 228 regular track diagnostics). Advanced stages III-IV at diagnosis were more likely in the fast-track group (94.4% vs. 81.1%, p = 0.001). The median time from initial cancer suspicion to diagnosis was 21 days (IQR 14–37) for the fast-track vs. 31 days (IQR 18–51) for the regular track (p < 0.001). During the follow-up period, 56 patients from the fast-track and 131 patients from the regular track died. No significant difference was found in the median survival time between the fast and regular tracks, whether from the onset of symptoms, diagnosis, or treatment initiation. Conclusion: Patients referred to the fast-track were more likely to be diagnosed at a further advanced stage of their cancer. The fast-track shortened the time until diagnosis and treatment but no difference was found in median survival between the tracks, perhaps due to late referral and high fatality rates.

Original languageEnglish
Article number48
JournalJournal of Medical Systems
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Dec 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Cancer
  • Diagnosis
  • Fast-track
  • Quality of health care
  • Survival

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Health Information Management
  • Health Informatics
  • Medicine (miscellaneous)


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