Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Urology-owned radiation oncology self-referral can increase patients' travel distance for treatment

15.08.2012
Men with prostate cancer in Texas may be driving more than three times farther than needed to obtain radiation oncology treatments for their cancer when treated at a urology-owned radiation oncology practice versus other facilities, according to a study to be published online August 15, 2012, and in the September 1, 2012, print issue of the International Journal of Radiation Oncology*Biology*Physics (Red Journal), the official scientific journal of the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO).

This study reviewed 229 urology practices in Texas and found that 5 percent (12 centers) offered radiation oncology services, and 53 percent of the state's population lives within 10 miles of these centers.

The 12 urology-owned practices were found to have multiple urologic clinics, but each practice has only one radiation oncology treatment center focused on prostate cancer treatment. This often resulted in extended travel times because radiation therapy is not available at the same physical location as the urologic clinic where the patient was initially diagnosed. The mean patient travel distance was found to be 19.7 miles (26.11 minutes) to the urology-owned center versus 5.88 miles (9.15 minutes) to the nearest radiation oncology center.

The patient benefits of this practice model, known as physician self-referral, have been questioned particularly with regard to its impact on increasing health care costs. Self-referral is being investigated by the U.S. Government Accountability Office and others due to concern that financial incentives could steer patients to more costly, unnecessary and/or less effective procedures. This article reinforces concern about the increase in urology-owned radiation oncology practices across the country, and further notes that 28 percent of Texas urologists now work in practices that self-refer for radiation oncology services. According to a national Urology Times survey, published on December 1, 2011, 19 percent of urology groups report owning linear accelerators to provide radiation oncology treatments, and these medical groups refer patients for treatment within their own radiation oncology center.

"Integrated urology-radiation oncology practices are increasingly common in Texas and have the potential to impact patient care. For example, our study illustrates that patients diagnosed by a urologist whose practice owns a radiation treatment facility will, on average, drive three times farther to reach the radiation treatment facility owned by their urologist than they would have to drive to reach the nearest independent radiation treatment facility," said Benjamin D. Smith, MD, a radiation oncologist at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston and one of the study's authors.

Study authors affirm that their findings are limited to their research area of the state of Texas and recommend additional analysis of how urology-owned self-referral practices affect patient care, quality of treatment and patient satisfaction and outcomes, not just patient travel time.

"Travel time to cancer care centers is crucial, especially for older men with advanced disease, because external radiation therapy often requires daily treatment for six to eight weeks. These patients often need to lean on friends and relatives to help them get to and from these multiple appointments. We must be judicious when proposing treatment options to our patients and appreciate the time and travel investment, including significant transportation and fuel costs, they make when choosing radiation therapy," said Colleen Lawton, MD, FASTRO, and president-elect of ASTRO. Dr. Lawton is a prostate cancer specialist and professor and vice-chairman of the department of radiation oncology at the Froedtert and Medical College Clinical Cancer Center in Milwaukee.

The study's authors are Benjamin D. Smith, MD, department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Pavan M .Jhaveri, MD, section of radiation oncology in the department of radiology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston; Zhuyi Sun, BS, of the department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Leslie Ballas, MD, of Valley Radiotherapy Associates Medical Group, Manhattan Beach, Calif.; David S. Followill, PhD, department of radiation physics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; Karen E. Hoffman, MD, MHSc, MPH, department of radiation oncology at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center; and Jing Jiang, MS, department of biostatistics at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center.

For the complete text of the study, contact Michelle Kirkwood, 703-286-1600, press@astro.org. To learn more about the Red Journal, visit www.redjournal.org.

ASTRO is the largest radiation oncology society in the world, with more than 10,000 members who specialize in treating patients with radiation therapies. As the leading organization in radiation oncology, biology and physics, the Society is dedicated to improving patient care through education, clinical practice, advancement of science and advocacy. For more information on radiation therapy, visit www.rtanswers.org. To learn more about ASTRO, visit www.astro.org.

Michelle Kirkwood | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.astro.org

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht New study from the University of Halle: How climate change alters plant growth
12.01.2018 | Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg

nachricht Disarray in the brain
18.12.2017 | Universität zu Lübeck

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Artificial agent designs quantum experiments

On the way to an intelligent laboratory, physicists from Innsbruck and Vienna present an artificial agent that autonomously designs quantum experiments. In initial experiments, the system has independently (re)discovered experimental techniques that are nowadays standard in modern quantum optical laboratories. This shows how machines could play a more creative role in research in the future.

We carry smartphones in our pockets, the streets are dotted with semi-autonomous cars, but in the research laboratory experiments are still being designed by...

Im Focus: Scientists decipher key principle behind reaction of metalloenzymes

So-called pre-distorted states accelerate photochemical reactions too

What enables electrons to be transferred swiftly, for example during photosynthesis? An interdisciplinary team of researchers has worked out the details of how...

Im Focus: The first precise measurement of a single molecule's effective charge

For the first time, scientists have precisely measured the effective electrical charge of a single molecule in solution. This fundamental insight of an SNSF Professor could also pave the way for future medical diagnostics.

Electrical charge is one of the key properties that allows molecules to interact. Life itself depends on this phenomenon: many biological processes involve...

Im Focus: Paradigm shift in Paris: Encouraging an holistic view of laser machining

At the JEC World Composite Show in Paris in March 2018, the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT will be focusing on the latest trends and innovations in laser machining of composites. Among other things, researchers at the booth shared with the Aachen Center for Integrative Lightweight Production (AZL) will demonstrate how lasers can be used for joining, structuring, cutting and drilling composite materials.

No other industry has attracted as much public attention to composite materials as the automotive industry, which along with the aerospace industry is a driver...

Im Focus: Room-temperature multiferroic thin films and their properties

Scientists at Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) and Tohoku University have developed high-quality GFO epitaxial films and systematically investigated their ferroelectric and ferromagnetic properties. They also demonstrated the room-temperature magnetocapacitance effects of these GFO thin films.

Multiferroic materials show magnetically driven ferroelectricity. They are attracting increasing attention because of their fascinating properties such as...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

10th International Symposium: “Advanced Battery Power – Kraftwerk Batterie” Münster, 10-11 April 2018

08.01.2018 | Event News

See, understand and experience the work of the future

11.12.2017 | Event News

Innovative strategies to tackle parasitic worms

08.12.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Let the good tubes roll

19.01.2018 | Materials Sciences

How cancer metastasis happens: Researchers reveal a key mechanism

19.01.2018 | Health and Medicine

Meteoritic stardust unlocks timing of supernova dust formation

19.01.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>