Nonmelanoma skin cancer (NMSC) affects many Canadians. Although morbidity and mortality are rare, the burden to patients and the health-care system is significant. This study aims to evaluate current plastic surgery wait times and care pathways for patients with NMSC in Southwestern Ontario.
A retrospective chart review of 225 patients treated in Ontario from 2015 to 2018 was conducted. Inclusion criteria included patients with an NMSC managed with surgical excision. Referral information was compared. Primary outcomes were wait times: from referral to consultation, referral to excision, and consultation to excision. Data were analyzed using Student test with equal variance.
One-hundred forty-three patients were included from the academic cohort and 82 from the community cohort. Referrals to academic and community surgeons included lesion location (90% and 97.6%, respectively), but less frequently included size (18% and 29.2%, respectively). Most referrals to academic surgeons included biopsy results (78.6%), as opposed to community referrals (25.6%). Patients in the academic cohort waited 15.3 ± 12.7 weeks from referral to consultation, and 15.7 ± 13 weeks from referral to excision. Patients from the community cohort waited significantly shorter periods of 4.9 ± 3.1 ( < .001) and 11.7 ± 9.9 weeks ( = .016), respectively. However, patients of the academic cohort waited 2.4 ± 7.1 weeks from consultation to excision, while patients in the community cohort waited 6.7 ± 9.6 weeks ( < .001). Rates of negative peripheral margins on pathology were similar between groups, at 89.5% of the academic cohort and 88.9% of the community cohort. Deep margins were positive 5.7% of the time at the academic sites and 6.2% of the time in the community.
Patients referred to academic centres waited significantly longer periods of time in several parameters compared to those referred to a community surgeon. However, academic surgeons often had expedited consultation-to-excision time frame. This study provides important data for future quality improvement initiatives in NMSC care.

© 2019 The Author(s).