This study was designed to evaluate the accuracy of the Oncology Patient Information Systems (OPIS) database for patients with breast cancer and lymphoma. We conducted a detailed individual patient chart review of patients with lymphoma or breast cancer who were seen in consultation by an oncologist between July 1991 and June 1995. Information extracted directly from the patients' clinic charts was compared with information captured in the OPIS database with respect to demographics, staging, histological diagnosis, treatment, relapse status, date of relapse and survival. OPIS database failed to capture 14.4% and 23.4% of lymphoma and breast cancer patients seen over the four-year period. When compared to the clinic charts there were differences in staging in 31.5% and 8.1%, relapse status in 27.6% and 7.2%, and date of relapse in 56.4% and 14.7% of lymphoma and breast cancer patients respectively. The deficiencies and inaccuracies in the OPIS database emphasize the need for caution in basing administrative, policy, or practice decisions on this database.
A question prompt list (QPL) is an inexpensive communication aid that has been proved effective in encouraging patients to ask questions during medical consultations. The aim of this project was to develop a QPL for Norwegian cancer patients.
A multimethod approach was chosen combining literature review, focus groups, and a survey in the process of culturally adjusting an Australian QPL for the Norwegian setting. Participants were recruited from the University Hospital of North Norway. They were asked to review and comment on iterative drafts of the QPL.
Eighteen patients, mean age 54, participated in the focus groups, and 31 patients, mean age 55, participated in the survey. Focus groups suggested that topics related to accompanying relatives, children as next of kin, and rehabilitation were important and should be added to the original QPL. The survey revealed that most questions from the original QPL were considered both useful and understandable. Although half of the patients found some questions about prognosis unpleasant, the vast majority considered the same questions useful. Questions regarding clinical studies, multidisciplinary teams, and public versus private hospitals had lower ratings of usefulness.
QPLs require some adjustment to the local cultural context, and a mixed method approach may provide a useful model for future cultural adaptation of QPLs. The present QPL has been adjusted to the needs of oncology patients in the Norwegian health care setting.
Evidence suggests that pre- and/or postoperative treatment benefits patients with stage II/III rectal cancer. This study aimed to quantify treatment patterns and adherence to treatment guidelines, and to identify barriers to having a consultation with an oncologist and barriers to receiving treatment in stage II/III rectal cancer, in a publicly funded medical care system.
Patients with surgically treated stage II/III rectal adenocarcinoma, diagnosed from 2002 to 2005 in Alberta, a Canadian province with a population of 3 million, were included. Demographic and treatment information from the Alberta Cancer Registry were linked to data from electronic medical records, hospital discharge data and the 2001 Canadian Census. The study outcomes were 'not having an oncologist consultation' and 'not receiving guideline-based treatment'. The relative risks of the two outcomes in association with patient characteristics were estimated using multivariable log-binomial regression.
Of a total of 910 surgically treated stage II/III rectal adenocarcinoma patients, 748 (82%) had a consultation with an oncologist and 414 (45.5%) received treatment. Pre-/post-surgical treatment modalities and timing varied; 96 (10.5%) received neoadjuvant treatment only, 389 (42.7%) received adjuvant treatment only, 119 (13.1%) received both, and 306 (33.6%) had surgery alone. Factors related to not having a consultation with an oncologist included older age, co-morbidities, cancer stage II and region of residence. Older age was the most significantly associated factor with not receiving treatment (relative risk=2.23; 95% confidence interval: 1.89, 2.64).
Disparities exist in the receipt of treatment in stage II/III rectal cancer. Factors such as age, region of residence and stage should not be barriers to consulting an oncologist to discuss or receive treatment. The reasons for these disparities need to be identified and addressed.
Obesity and breast cancer are common conditions that often coexist. Concerns of relative overdosing of chemotherapy in the large cancer patient have led clinicians to apply empiric dose reductions, 'cap' the body surface area (BSA) at 2 m2, or use ideal rather than actual body weight to calculate BSA. There are no data supporting or refuting these practices and their prevalence is unknown. We sought to determine the distribution of body size and prevalence of obesity in the breast cancer population of our cancer centre, and to determine clinician chemotherapy dosing practices in the era of modern adjuvant chemotherapy.
Women with invasive breast cancer receiving systemic therapy at our institution between 1980 and 1998 were identified and their recorded height and weight were used to calculate BSA and body mass index (BMI). We reviewed the first cycle adjuvant chemotherapy dosing practices from 1990-1998. The ideal dose of chemotherapy was calculated based on calculated BSA, and then contrasted with the actual dose received at cycle one. Discrepancies were recorded and categorized, using the largest single drug reduction if more than one drug was reduced.
Mean BMI in the systemic therapy population was 26.4 +/- 5.3 kg/m2, 54% were overweight, 2% severely obese and 18% moderately so. Their mean BSA was 1.7 +/- 0.2 m2 and only 5% had a BSA > or = 2 m2. In the adjuvant chemotherapy subgroup, most patients received > or = 85% of their ideal dose. The mean dose reduction was 5.3 +/- 11.3% versus 9.9 +/- 11.3% in the BSA or = 2 m2 groups, respectively (p = 0.02), and 4.3 +/- 8.2% versus 6.7 +/- 13.1% in the BMI or = 25 kg/m2 groups, respectively (p = 0.008). While only 24% of chemotherapy dose reductions of > or = 15% were in the BSA > or = 2 m2 group, 76% were in the BMI > or = 25 kg/m2 group.
Obesity is prevalent in this breast cancer population. BSA is not a sensitive index of large body size. We consistently detected more frequent empiric dose reductions at cycle one of adjuvant chemotherapy, with reductions of greater magnitude in the largest women (BSA > or = 2 m2) and those who were overweight (BMI > or = 25 kg/m2).
The incidence of brain tumours: analysis of epidemiology figures and neurooncology service status in the Ulyanovsk region during 1996-2005 was investigated. This article demonstrates lack of early brain tumour diagnosis in the region owing to insufficient equipment of medical care facilities and low level of expertise among primary care phycisians. Risk factors for complications development and increase in postoperative mortality are defined. The uniform algorithm of medical care for brain tumour patients will allow considerably improve treatment results.
In a qualitative study using focus group interviews, family physicians in London, Ont, were asked to describe how they perceived their role in follow-up cancer patient care. Barriers to fulfilling this role existed both in the tertiary cancer care setting and among the family physicians themselves. Suggestions for overcoming these barriers were generated.
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The authors report the results of a symposium on improving the standards of care for patients with cancer pain. The symposium was sponsored by the Advisory Committee on Cancer Control of the National Cancer Institute of Canada and was held Apr. 8 to 10, 1994, in Toronto. Participants included experts on control of cancer pain and on diffusion techniques, patients with cancer and representatives of regulatory agencies. They suggested the following strategies to improve outcomes in patients with cancer pain. Processes for accreditation of health care institutions should require documentation of cancer pain, its treatment and its outcome. Tertiary care facilities that provide cancer treatment should have expert, subspecialty, multidisciplinary programs for pain control and should provide adequate psychosocial support to patients suffering cancer pain. The Canadian Cancer Society should conduct a public-education campaign to encourage patients to report pain to health care providers. The National Cancer Institute of Canada should foster research on cancer pain by restructuring its process for review of pain-research protocols. Examinations for professionals who care for patients with cancer should include a defined number of questions concerning pain and symptom control. Provincial programs to monitor prescribing through the use of triplicate prescription pads should have an educational as well as regulatory purpose.