A prospective comparison of times to presentation and treatment of regional and remote head and neck patients in North Queensland, Australia

Tan, Joanne Yue-Ai, Otty, Zulfiquer A., Vangaveti, Venkat N., Buttner, Petra, Varma, Suresh C., Joshi, Abhishek J., Kelly, Jenny, Collins, Michael, and Sabesan, Sabe S. (2016) A prospective comparison of times to presentation and treatment of regional and remote head and neck patients in North Queensland, Australia. Internal Medicine Journal, 46 (8). pp. 917-924.

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View at Publisher Website: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/imj.13138
 
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Abstract

Introduction: This study aims to examine differences between outer regional (OR) and remote/very remote (RVR) patients in northern Queensland, Australia, in the times taken to receive various aspects of head and neck cancer management.

Methods: Our study prospectively recruited head and neck cancer patients presenting to three North Queensland regional hospitals from 1/2009 to 1/2011. Data on demographic and cancer specific details, co-morbidities and timing of presentation to various services were collected using a self-administered questionnaire that included two questions in relation to possible reason for delays to health services. Multivariate linear regression analyses were conducted to assess the effects of various demographic characteristics on time delays. Survival and disease recurrence data were analysed in 2014.

Results: 158 patients participated. RVR patients had significantly longer median times between diagnosis and first treatment compared with OR patients (p = 0.015). Indigenous patients had significant delays from diagnosis to first treatment (p = 0.013) and visit to first specialist and treatment (p = 0.031) compared to non-Indigenous patients. Longer median times between symptoms and first treatment associated with low income (p = 0.03) and lower education level (p = 0.04). Disease recurrence was higher for RVR patients compared with OR patients (p = 0.04), without significant differences in overall survival. Possible reasons for delays included patient and professional factors.

Conclusions: Significant delays in various aspects of head and neck cancer management were associated with remoteness, Indigenous and socioeconomic status. While patient and professional factors could be addressed at local levels, it requires a state and national level approach for sustainable improvement in outcomes.

Item ID: 44322
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
ISSN: 1445-5994
Funders: Townsville Health Services District Private Practice Study, Research and Education Trust Fund
Date Deposited: 08 Jun 2016 03:30
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111202 Cancer Diagnosis @ 50%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111299 Oncology and Carcinogenesis not elsewhere classified @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920203 Diagnostic Methods @ 50%
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