SMP Student Researcher: Darren Guenther

Southern Medical Program Student: Darren Guenther, Class of 2021
Research Supervisors:
Drs. Delia Sauciuc and Siavash Atrchian, BC Cancer – Kelowna

What’s your research about?

Esophageal and esophageal junction cancers are some of the most rapidly increasing causes of cancer death worldwide. While longer wait times from diagnosis to treatment increases the theoretical risk of cancer related complications, previous research on wait times in esophageal cancer is sparse.

Furthermore, the small amount of research on this topic may underestimate the negative impact of long wait times. Consequently, the current study investigates the relationship between wait time and survival via a retrospective chart review of esophageal cancer patients treated at BC Cancer. Apart from determining the effect of wait time on survival, the study also explores the effects of wait time on other important cancer related outcomes, such as: treatment completion rates, cancer recurrence rates, surgical outcomes, pathological findings, and usage of PET scans for staging.

What’s the potential impact?

This project aims to provide a better understanding of the effects of wait time in esophageal cancer survival outcomes. Currently, certain jurisdictions worldwide have established guidelines regarding maximum wait time from diagnosis to treatment. However, no such guidelines exist in BC. As such, the question remains uncertain whether setting maximum waiting times is necessary or valuable for patients with esophageal or esophageal junctional cancers. By further understanding the effects of wait time on survival outcomes, local healthcare administrators will be more informed when creating policies such as maximum wait times. Ultimately, we plan to publish our findings with the hope that empiric evidence will guide medical professionals everywhere as they seek to provide optimal care for their patients.

Thanks to the Colin & Lois Pritchard Foundation for supporting this student research project.