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Geographic Access to Cancer Care and Mortality Among Adolescents

Journal title
Journal of adolescent and young adult oncology
Publication year
Tai, E.; Hallisey, E.; Peipins, L. A.; Flanagan, B.; Lunsford, N. B.; Wilt, G.; Graham, S.

PURPOSE: Adolescents with cancer have had less improvement in survival than other populations in the United States. This may be due, in part, to adolescents not receiving treatment at Children’s Oncology Group (COG) institutions, which have been shown to increase survival for some cancers. The objective of this ecologic study was to examine geographic distance to COG institutions and adolescent cancer mortality. METHODS: We calculated cancer mortality among adolescents and sociodemographic and healthcare access factors in four geographic zones at selected distances surrounding COG facilities: Zone A (area within 10 miles of any COG institution), Zones B and C (concentric rings with distances from a COG institution of >10-25 miles and >25-50 miles, respectively), and Zone D (area outside of 50 miles). RESULTS: The adolescent cancer death rate was highest in Zone A at 3.21 deaths/100,000, followed by Zone B at 3.05 deaths/100,000, Zone C at 2.94 deaths/100,000, and Zone D at 2.88 deaths/100,000. The United States-wide death rate for whites without Hispanic ethnicity, blacks without Hispanic ethnicity, and persons with Hispanic ethnicity was 2.96 deaths/100,000, 3.10 deaths/100,000, and 3.26 deaths/100,000, respectively. Zone A had high levels of poverty (15%), no health insurance coverage (16%), and no vehicle access (16%). CONCLUSIONS: Geographic access to COG institutions, as measured by distance alone, played no evident role in death rate differences across zones. Among adolescents, socioeconomic factors, such as poverty and health insurance coverage, may have a greater impact on cancer mortality than geographic distance to COG institution.

Research abstracts