Site Editors

Shaji K. Kumar, MD

Prashant Kapoor, MD, FACP


ESMO 2022: Wait Time for Diagnosis of Multiple Myeloma in the United States

By: Sarah Campen, PharmD
Posted: Monday, September 19, 2022

A study presented at the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) Congress 2022 (Abstract 1318MO) focused on a retrospective claims analysis that suggested “cancer diagnosis inefficiency” in the United States—with more than half of patients diagnosed with multiple myeloma waiting more than 6 months for a diagnosis from the time of their first diagnostic test. According to Matthew D. Gitlin, PharmD, of BluePath Solutions, Los Angeles, and colleagues, the mean time to diagnosis in all patients was 5.2 months, with variation among patients with the same cancer type. “Policies, guidelines, and interventions that streamline cancer diagnosis pathways are critical to optimize patient outcomes,” they stated.

In this analysis, 458,818 patients diagnosed with 20 different types of cancer in 2018 and 2019 were identified using Optum’s de-identified Clinformatics Data Mart Database, which includes Medicare Advantage and commercially insured members. Patients were evaluated for inclusion by reviewing ICD-10 claim codes and diagnostic test records.

The most prevalent cancer types included breast (26%), prostate (19%), lung (13%), urothelial and bladder (9%), and kidney (8%). The median time to diagnosis was 3.9 months and varied across cancer types and among patients with the same cancer type. In all, 15.4% of patients waited more than 6 months for a diagnosis. In patients with certain types of cancer, more than one-quarter waited at least 6 months, including those with multiple myeloma (52.8%), stomach (48.8%), esophageal (46.1%), colorectal (44.6%), lymphoma (31.9%), kidney (28.7%), and gallbladder (26.5%) cancers.

Disclosure: For full disclosures of the study authors, visit

By continuing to browse this site you permit us and our partners to place identification cookies on your browser and agree to our use of cookies to identify you for marketing. Read our Privacy Policy to learn more.