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Region and Hospital Type Affect Prostate Cancer Care

Teaching hospitals perform better on quality indicators related to prostate cancer treatment

MONDAY, Aug. 4 (HealthDay News) -- While there are significant differences in quality indicators related to prostate cancer care based on hospital type and U.S. region, there are no apparent racial differences, researchers report in the Aug. 1 issue of the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Benjamin A. Spencer, M.D., of Columbia University in New York City, and colleagues reviewed medical records from 2,775 prostate cancer cases treated with radical prostatectomy or external-beam radiation to determine compliance with 29 quality-of-care indicators developed by RAND.

Compliance for structural and pretherapy disease assessment was greater than 70 percent, but compliance for documentation of pretreatment functioning, surgical pathology, radiation technique and follow-up was significantly lower, the investigators found. Significant geographic variation was noted for having appropriate professional staff (boarded-certified radiation oncologist and urologist) and total radiation dose administration. Specifically, compliance was higher in the South Atlantic than in New England, the researchers report. Teaching hospitals had higher compliance than Comprehensive Cancer Centers, and no differences in care were noted based on race, the report indicates.

"The significant and unwarranted variations observed for these quality indicators by census division and hospital type illustrate inconsistencies in prostate cancer care and represent potential targets for quality improvement," the authors conclude. "The lack of racial disparities suggests equity in care once a patient initiates treatment."

One of the study authors disclosed financial relationships with several pharmaceutical companies.

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