Disparities in Surgical Timing and Guideline-Adherent Staging Work-Up for Colon Cancer

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Abstract

  • Background: Expedited or delayed surgery for colon cancer without appropriate work-up increases mortality risk. We sought to identify what patient, social, and hospital factors were associated with timely, guideline-adherent work-up for colon cancer. Methods: Retrospective analysis of 19,046 patients in the Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER) database linked with Medicare administrative claims who underwent elective surgery for colon cancer between 2010 and 2015 was performed. Primary outcome was receipt of complete preoperative work-up (colonoscopy, imaging, tumor marker evaluation) and timely surgery within 60 days of diagnosis. Patients were stratified into four groups: (1) adherent; (2) early surgery (< 30 days) with incomplete work-up; (3) surgery between 30 and 60 days with incomplete work-up; and (4) late surgery (> 60 days) with/without work-up. Characteristics were compared and multinomial logistic regression was performed. Results: Overall, 46.2% of patients received adherent care, 33.1% had early surgery and inadequate work-up, 10.3% had appropriately timed surgery but incomplete work-up, and 10.4% underwent late surgery. Multivariable analysis demonstrated that older, female, Black, and unmarried patients as well as patients living in areas with higher rates of poverty were more likely to receive non-adherent care. A greater proportion of patients at teaching hospitals received complete work-up (57.6% vs. 49.5%) but also underwent late surgery (12.4% vs. 8.6%) compared with non-teaching hospitals. Conclusions: Patient, societal, and hospital factors impact whether patients receive guideline-adherent colon cancer care. Interventions are needed to improve access to timely and guideline-adherent cancer care as a possible mechanism to combat surgical disparities.
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  • Theiss LM; Lucy AT; Bergstresser SL; Chu DI; Kennedy GD; Hollis R; Kenzik KM