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Does the distance a patient has to travel affect where they choose to get their care?
Date:8/31/2009

PHILADELPHIA (August 28, 2009)Do patients choose where to get their care based on how long it takes to them to get there? Researchers at Fox Chase Cancer Center have recently documented a growing trend in the centralization of cancer surgerymore patients seeking care at high volume centers, which are generally located in metropolitan areas. While trends like this should improve patient outcomes, a study published in the Journal of Clinical Oncology shows that there are still a good number of patients who will not travel a long distance to get their care.

"Based on results of previous studies, patient outcomes should be improved with centralization of cancer surgery, however, we are concerned that the long distances patients may need to travel will serve as a barrier to access to high volume centers," says Karyn Stitzenberg, M.D., M.P.H., who led the study while at Fox Chase and is currently adjunct assistant professor for the Department of Health Policy and Management at University of North Carolina. "Centralization at high volume centers comes with a cost, as some patients may need to travel long distances to reach high volume centers. These increased travel distances may pose a significant barrier to quality cancer care for some subsets of the population."

The study used discharge data from 1996-2006 for hospitals in New York, New Jersey and Pennsylvania. Patients ages 18 and over who were treated with surgery for colorectal, esophageal or pancreatic cancer were included. Over 272,000 procedures met criteria for inclusion in the study, specifically 5,273 esophageal, 13,472 pancreatic, 202,879 colon and 51,262 rectal procedures.

A shift from low volume to high volume centers occurred to varying degrees for esophageal, pancreatic and colon cancer procedures. The change was the greatest for esophageal and pancreatic cancer, which are less common than cancers of the colon and rectum. In contrast to 1996, the vast majority
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Contact: Diana Quattrone
Diana.Quattrone@fccc.edu
215-728-7784
Fox Chase Cancer Center
Source:Eurekalert

Page: 1 2

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