In a large multi-institutional cohort, patients distant to a tertiary care center had increased usage of neoadjuvant chemotherapy, a shorter time from diagnosis to surgery, and no difference in survival outcomes compared with patients who resided near to the facility. Thus, referring patients across the geographic distances observed in the present study did not appear to compromise patient care.Background:
We sought to determine the effect of the travel distance on mortality and quality outcomes after radical cystectomy in a large multi-institutional cohort.Patients and Methods:
A total of 3957 patients who had undergone radical cystectomy for urothelial carcinoma at 6 North American tertiary care institutions were included. The association of travel distance with quality-of-care endpoints, 90-day mortality, and long-term survival were evaluated.Results:
The median patient age was 69 years (interquartile range, 61-76 years), and most patients were men (80%). Most patients had clinical stage T2 (45.2%) and T1 (24.7%) tumors. The median distance to the treatment facility was 102.9 miles (interquartile range, 24-271 miles). Patients residing in the first quartile of travel distance to treatment facility (< 24 miles) had lower usage of neoadjuvant chemotherapy compared with patients in the fourth distance quartile (adjusted odds ratio, 1.58; 95% confidence interval, 1.22-2.05; P = .001). Patients in the first distance quartile were also less likely to experience a delay in time to cystectomy (> 3 months) compared with patients with a greater travel distance (adjusted odds ratio, 0.673; 95% confidence interval, 0.532-0.851). Distance to the treatment facility was not associated with 90-day mortality or cancer-specific or all-cause mortality on multivariate analysis.Conclusion:
Despite the potential health care disparities for bladder cancer patients residing distant to a regional surgical oncology facility, the study results suggest that the travel distance is not a barrier to appropriate oncologic care at regional tertiary care centers.