Understanding palliative radiotherapy use for BC cancer patients at the end of life

Date

2013-06-21

Authors

Huang, Jin

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Abstract

Palliative radiotherapy (PRT) is proven to be effective in palliation of symptoms for end-stage cancer patients. However, little is known about its utilization at the end of life. This research aims to examine the utilization and the practice patterns of PRT at the end of life for cancer patients in British Columbia using population-based data. The pattern observed for PRT1Y dose-fractionation practice in BC are in line with published clinical guidelines and evidence from the literature, which advises “proper” use of PRT in BC as delivered to cancer patients at the end of life. However, after controlling for age, primary cancer site, and survival time, geographic access is found to be significantly associated with PRT1Y utilization. Variations found in PRT1Y rates by geographic access, which is operationalized by the Health Services Delivery Area (HSDA) and travel time, suggests potential underutilization of PRT1Y for patients with suboptimal access.

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Keywords

End-of-life, Health service utilization, Metastatic cancer, Palliative radiotherapy

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