Delay to Colectomy and Survival for Patients Diagnosed with Colon Cancer

Sanjay P. Bagaria, Michael G. Heckman, Nancy N. Diehl, Alexander Parker, Nabil Wasif

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


Background: A long wait-time for colectomy for colon cancer should theoretically affect survival but, to date, the association between delay to colectomy and survival remains unresolved. Methods: We studied 4,685 patients who underwent a colectomy for colon cancer between 1990 and 2012. Wait-time was defined as the number of days between diagnosis and colectomy. Cox regression models were used to estimate adjusted hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for all-cause mortality. Results: The number of patients in the wait-time group of 1–21 days was 3,529 (75.3%), 22–42 days was 842 (18.0%), 43–84 days was 253 (5.4%), and >84 days was 61 (1.3%). When compared to patients undergoing surgery in the first week after diagnosis, there was no increased risk of death until wait time >84 days (HR = 1.47; 95% CI, 1.02–2.11; p =.038). Patients in the wait time >84 day group tended to be older, traveled further for colectomy, and had tumors with a lower histologic grade. Conclusions: Colectomy for colon cancer performed up to 3 months following diagnosis is not associated with adverse long-term survival. These data provide a framework to address concerns over prolonged wait-times and direct efforts for timely surgery in patients with colon cancer.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)350-357
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Investigative Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 19 2019


  • colon cancer
  • delay
  • surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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