Palliative radiotherapy utilization for cancer patients at end of life in British Columbia: retrospective cohort study

Date

2014-11-18

Authors

Huang, Jin
Wai, Elaine S
Lau, Francis
Blood, Paul A

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title

Publisher

BMC Palliative Care

Abstract

Background: The use of palliative radiotherapy (PRT) is variable in advanced cancer. Little is known about PRT utilization by end-of-life (EOL) cancer patients in Canada. This study examined the PRT utilization rates and factors associated with its use in a cohort of cancer patients who died in British Columbia (BC). Methods: BC residents with invasive cancer who died between April 1, 2010 and March 31, 2011 were included in the study. Their cancer registry and radiotherapy treatment records were extracted from the BC Cancer Agency information systems and linked for the analysis. The PRT utilization rates by age, sex, primary cancer diagnosis, geographic region, survival time and travel time to the cancer centre were examined. Multivariable logistic regression was used to determine the factors that influenced the PRT utilization rates. Results: Of the 12,300 decedents in the study 2,669 (21.7%) had received at least one course of PRT in their last year of life. The utilization rates dropped to 5.0% and 2.2% in the last 30 and 14 days of life, respectively. PRT utilization varied across diagnosis and was highest for lung cancer (45.7%) and lowest for colorectal cancer (8.9%). The rates also varied by age, survival time and travel time to the nearest radiotherapy centre. There was a greater odds of receiving PRT for those with primary lung cancer, survival time between 1.5-26 months from diagnosis or living within 2 hours from a cancer centre. The 85+ age group was least likely to receive PRT in their last year of life. Conclusions: This study found PRT utilization rates of EOL cancer decedents to be variable across the province of BC. Age, diagnosis, survival time and travel time to the nearest radiotherapy centre were found to influence the odds of PRT treatment. Further work is still needed to establish the appropriate PRT utilization rates for the EOL cancer population.

Description

BioMed Central

Keywords

Palliative radiotherapy, Radiation therapy, End of life care, End-stage cancer

Citation

Huang et al.: Palliative radiotherapy utilization for cancer patients at end of life in British Columbia: retrospective cohort study. BMC Palliative Care 2014 13:49