New Study: Mexico City Patient Navigation Program Reduces Time-to-Treatment from 5 Months to 7 Days

Data shows that Patient Navigation programs play critical role in accelerating cancer care in Low- and Middle-Income (LMIC) countries
BOSTON - Jan. 8, 2019 - PRLog -- Global Cancer Institute (GCI), which is focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide, announced today the results of its Patient Navigation Program in Mexico City. The program ran from January 2016 through March 2017, and tracked 70 cancer patients at Ajusco Medio General Hospital.  The average time-to-referral before the Program's inception was five months. The Program reduced that average to just seven days, unquestionably improving survival rates among those patients.

"Interventions aimed at improving access to timely cancer care for patients in low- and middle-income countries (LMIC) are urgently needed," said Yanin Chavarri-Guerra, principal investigator of the study, and medical oncologist at the Department of Hemato-Oncology, Instituto Nacional de Ciencias Médicas y Nutrición Salvador Zubirán, Mexico City, Mexico. "Patient Navigation is a low-cost, low-tech solution that has a big impact. We believe this is a program that should be emulated in hospitals in LMICs around the world."

As in other LMICs, cancer mortality rates in Mexico are in part driven by late diagnosis and limited access to care. Mexico's health care system is highly fragmented, which represents a challenge for referrals between primary care hospitals and cancer centers. Previous studies conducted within the Mexican health care system have shown that health system delays for patients with breast cancer have a median length of 5 months, and that these delays are closely correlated with a higher frequency of advanced stages at the time of diagnosis.

Patient Navigators help remove barriers to care for patients. The most common barriers in this study were reported as financial burdens and fear; other examples are lack of transportation and family support. Median time to referral was seven days, and time to specialist appointment was 27 days. Ninety-one percent of patients successfully obtained appointments at cancer centers in less than 3 months.

"By 2025, 60 percent of new cancer cases and 68 percent of all cancer deaths will occur in the developing world, and health systems in these countries are struggling to respond to the rising cancer burden," said Dr. Chavarri-Guerra. "We look forward to working closely with the Global Cancer Institute to replicate this program and its stellar results at other hospitals in our region."

Cancer death rates in LMICs are double those in the U.S.  GCI is working to close that gap by bringing simple U.S. programs such as Patient Navigation, Global Tumor Boards and Global Cancer Databases to LMICs

About Global Cancer Institute

Global Cancer Institute (GCI) is focused on improving survival rates for underserved cancer patients worldwide. Today, cancer death rates in developing countries are double those in the U.S. – GCI is working to close that gap. GCI works directly with physicians in developing countries to propagate simple interventions and treatments that are common in the U.S today, and proven to accelerate diagnosis, access and treatment. Learn more about our programs at

Michelle Faulkner
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