Distance from Radiation Treatment Impacts Therapy

Living in the back of beyond makes
breast-conserving therapy less likely
© NCI Visuals Online

The study reveals that being older, of Hispanic origin, or unmarried at diagnosis were also associated with decreased likelihood of treatment with lumpectomy and radiation therapy, and that both geographic accessibility and affordability of insurance influenced women's cancer treatment.

Despite professional recommendations that breast-conserving surgery with radiation (BCSR) is the standard of care for localised breast cancer, studies show that women, particularly the elderly, ethnic minorities, and the uninsured, are less likely to receive BCSR. To determine whether travel distance from home to a radiation facility is an independent factor predicting BCSR use, Lydia Voti, DSc of the University of Miami and her colleagues reviewed inpatient and outpatient data for 18,903 breast cancer cases in Florida treated with BCSR or mastectomy.

The researchers found that the distance a woman had to travel to get treatment at a radiation facility independently impacted BCSR usage. The odds of receiving BCSR fell significantly for every 5-mile increase in the distance to a radiation treatment facility. Consistent with other studies, researchers found that socio-economic factors, such as lack of health insurance, race-ethnicity (particularly Hispanic origin) and being unmarried also negatively impacted on the use of BCSR.

"We found that the distance to radiation therapy facilities has an inverse relationship with BCSR use," the authors conclude. They also recommend, "Facilitating access to radiation therapy facilities and offering pre-treatment counselling could potentially increase the receipt of BCSR among Hispanic and black women, older women, and the uninsured."

MEDICA.de; Source: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.