Prostate Cancer Treatment for Economically Disadvantaged Men

A Comparison of County Hospitals and Private

Published In: Cancer, v. 116, no. 5, Mar. 1, 2010, p. 1378-1384

Posted on RAND.org on January 01, 2010

by J. Kellogg Parsons, Lorna Kwan, Sarah Connor, David C. Miller, Mark Litwin

BACKGROUND: The authors compared the types of treatments prostate cancer patients received from county hospitals and private providers as part of a statewide public assistance program. METHODS: This was a cohort study of 559 men enrolled in a state-funded program for low-income patients known as Improving Access, Counseling, and Treatment for Californians With Prostate Cancer (IMPACT). Multinomial regression was used to compare types of treatments patients received from different providers. RESULTS: Between 2001 and 2006, 315 (56%) participants received treatment from county hospitals and 244 (44%) from private providers. There were no significant between-group differences with respect to age (P = .22), enrollment year (P = .49), Charlson comorbidity index (P = .47), Gleason sum (P = .33), clinical T stage (P = .36), prostate-specific antigen (P = .39), or D'Amico risk criteria (P = .45). Participants treated by private providers were more likely than those treated in county hospitals to be white (35% vs 10%, P < .01) and less likely to undergo surgery (29% vs 54%, P < .01). Multinomial regression analyses showed that participants treated by private providers were nearly 2 times more likely than those treated by public providers to receive radiotherapy (odds ratio [OR], 2.36; 95% confidence interval [CI], 1.37-4.07) and >4 times more likely to receive primary androgen deprivation (OR, 4.71; 95% CI, 2.15-10.36) than surgery. CONCLUSIONS: In this economically disadvantaged cohort, prostate cancer treatments differed significantly between county hospitals and private providers. These data reveal substantial variations in treatment patterns between different types of healthcare institutions that - given the implications for health policy and quality of care - merit further scrutiny.

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