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Urologist Presence Linked to Less Urologic Cancer Mortality

But density of more than two per 100,000 people doesn't affect mortality for three cancer types

THURSDAY, April 22 (HealthDay News) -- The presence of a urologist in a county is linked to lower mortality for prostate, bladder and kidney cancer, though increasing urologist density beyond two urologists per 100,000 people does not result in further improvements, according to research published online April 20 in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.

Anobel Y. Odisho, M.D., of the University of California at San Francisco, and colleagues analyzed county-level data from the Area Resource File, the U.S. Census, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the National Cancer Institute. They excluded rural counties, in part because few had any urologists.

The researchers found that counties with more than zero urologists -- compared to none -- had a statistically significant reduction in cancer-specific mortality. The reductions were 16 to 22 percent for prostate cancer, 17 to 20 percent for bladder cancer, and 8 to 14 percent for kidney cancer as urologist density increased. However, as density increased beyond two urologists per 100,000 people, there was no statistically significant impact on mortality for any of these cancers.

"In conclusion, as local urologic cancer mortality improvements quickly plateau with increasing urologist density, a nuanced and geographically aware policy toward the size and distribution of the future urologist work force may provide the greatest population-level benefits. These findings may also have important implications for overall oncologist density and distribution," the authors conclude.

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