A study at UCLA's Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer Center found that nearly all patients with high-grade, non-invasive bladder cancer are not receiving the guideline-recommended care that would best protect them from recurrence, a finding that researchers characterized as alarming.
In fact, out of the 4,545 bladder cancer patients included in the study, only one received the comprehensive care recommended by the American Urology Association and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.
Receiving the recommended comprehensive care for high-grade bladder cancer is critical because it can significantly minimize the likelihood that patients will die from their cancer, said Dr. Karim Chamie, a postdoctoral fellow in urologic oncology and health services research and lead author of the study.
"We were surprised by the findings in this study, particularly in an era when many suggest that doctors over-treat patients and do too much in the name of practicing defensive medicine," Chamie said. "This study suggests quite the contrary, that we don't do enough for patients with bladder cancer. If this was a report card on bladder cancer care in America, I'd say we're earning a failing grade."
The study is published July 11, 2011 in the early online edition of CANCER, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society.
The study then investigated the cause of poor compliance. What they found was that non-compliance knew no boundaries and that patient-level factors such as age, race, ethnicity or socioeconomic status had very little impact. Instead, non-compliance with guideline-recommended care was primarily attributed to urologists. The patients in the study were elderly, but capable of withstanding these simple measures.
"It wasn't their age, race, ZIP code or how wealthy they were. It all came down to who their doctor was," Chamie said
Dr. Mark S. Litwin, professor of urology and public health and se
|Contact: Kim Irwin|
University of California - Los Angeles Health Sciences