A Population-Based Study of Factors Affecting Access to Radiotherapy for Endometrial Cancer in Ontario
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Aims: To describe use of post-operative radiation for endometrial cancer in Ontario. To identify system-related and patient-related factors affecting access to this treatment. Materials and Methods: We performed a retrospective population-based cohort study of patients with surgically resected endometrial cancer in the Canadian province of Ontario between 1992-2003. Patients with evidence of incurable cancer at diagnosis or previous cancer diagnosis were excluded. We used multiple logistic regression to assess patient and system factors affecting radiation use. We controlled for disease-related and treatment-related factors: histology, surgical staging, type of hysterectomy and peritoneal biopsy. We applied a mixed model to account for clustering of data by operating hospital. Results: 9,411 women comprised the study cohort. The median age was 63 years. 26.2% received adjuvant radiation. The proportion of patients receiving radiation varied between cancer centre catchment areas from 18.0% to 34.3% (median 26.3%). In multivariate analysis, older patients were more likely to receive radiation up to the age of 80 (p<.0001). Patients who lived further from regional cancer centres were less likely to receive radiation (p=.0210). Patients who had their surgery during longer prevailing wait times at regional cancer centres were less likely to receive radiation (p=.0441). There was a 2.7-fold variation in the odds of radiation use between cancer centre catchments (p<.0001). Management at a comprehensive gynecologic oncology centre was associated with use of radiation for patients who had surgical staging of lymph nodes. Year of diagnosis and neighborhood income quintile did not significantly affect the use of radiation. Conclusions: There is wide variation in use of radiation for endometrial cancer in Ontario. There is evidence that system factors unrelated to patient’s needs affect use of adjuvant radiation for endometrial cancer in Ontario. Age is a key patient-related factor affecting radiation use.