Geographic Variation Across Veterans Affairs Medical Centers in the Treatment of Early Stage Prostate Cancer

Published in: The Journal of Urology, v. 172, no. 6, Dec. 2004, p. 2362-2365

Posted on on January 01, 2004

by Benjamin A. Spencer, Constance Fung, Mingming Wang, Lisa V. Rubenstein, Mark Litwin

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PURPOSE: The authors investigated geographic variation in the treatment of early stage prostate cancer in a national sample of veterans after widespread adoption of the prostate specific antigen test. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Our sample consisted of 16,352 cases from the Veterans Affairs Central Cancer Registry that were diagnosed between January 1997 and December 1999 with stage I or II prostate cancer. The authors used a 2-stage nested logit model to compare surgery, radiation therapy and noncurative treatment among 4 geographic regions of the United States. RESULTS: Multivariate analysis showed that patients in the West (referent group) had a higher OR of undergoing surgery than radiation compared with the Northeast, South or Midwest (OR 0.77, 95% CI 0.67 to 0.87, OR 0.86, 95% CI 0.76 to 0.98 and OR 0.75, 95% CI 0.64 to 0.87, respectively. Black men, men with lower grade and higher stage tumors, and unmarried men were less likely to undergo curative treatment and less likely to undergo surgery than radiation. CONCLUSIONS: Geographic variation persists in patterns of care in men with early stage prostate cancer. However, this variation is limited to the choice between surgery and radiation rather than to the choice between curative and noncurative treatment.

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