Geographical Factors Affecting the Admission of Teenagers and Young Adults to Age-Specialist Inpatient Cancer Care in England.
Birch RJ., Morris EJA., Stark DP., Morgan S., Lewis IJ., West RM., Feltbower RG.
Purpose: Little is known about the factors that influence the place of inpatient care for teenage and young adult (TYA) cancer patients. Recent guidelines have recommended centralization of care for this group to a small number of specialized centers. This study aimed to investigate the influence of geography and travel times on the likelihood of admission to an age-specialist center in England during cancer treatment for patients aged 15-24 at the time of diagnosis. Methods: Data for 6788 patients aged 15-24, diagnosed between 2001 and 2006 and treated as an inpatient in England between 2001 and 2009, were obtained from the National Cancer Data Repository. Eight TYA age-specialist centers were identified in England during this time period; road travel times to these centers were calculated using ArcGIS Network Analyst. Factors thought to affect the likelihood of admission, such as diagnostic group, gender, and age at diagnosis were modeled using logistic regression. Results: Overall, 66.9% of patients never received inpatient treatment at a TYA age-specialist center during the course of their treatment. Increasing travel time significantly reduced the likelihood of admission to a TYA age-specialist center after adjustment for case mix factors. Conclusion: Many TYA patients received little or no inpatient treatment at a TYA age-specialist center during their treatment. The variation between diagnostic groups suggests that factors other than distance to the closest center are affecting the likelihood of admission and demonstrates the potential need to consider improvements to the structured referral practice for this unique group of patients.