Cancer Agency Center for the North

Prince George, Canada

Cancer Agency Center for the North

Prince George, Canada
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Olson R.A.,Cancer Agency Center for the North | Olson R.A.,University of Northern British Columbia | Olson R.A.,University of British Columbia | Tiwana M.,Cancer Agency Center for the North | And 13 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2016

Purpose To assess the impact of a population-based intervention to increase the consistency and use of single-fraction radiation therapy (SFRT) for bone metastases. Methods and Materials In 2012, an audit of radiation therapy prescriptions for bone metastases in British Columbia identified significant interphysician and -center (26%-73%) variation in the use of SFRT. Anonymous physician-level and identifiable regional cancer center SFRT use data were presented to all radiation oncologists, together with published guidelines, meta-analyses, and recommendations from practice leaders. The use of SFRT for bone metastases from 2007 through 2011 was compared with use of SFRT in 2013, to assess the impact of the audit and educational intervention. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between the usage of SFRT and the timing of the radiation while controlling for potentially confounding variables. Physician and center were included as group effects to account for the clustered structure of the data. Results A total of 16,898 courses of RT were delivered from 2007 through 2011, and 3200 courses were delivered in 2013. The rates of SFRT use in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 were 50.5%, 50.9%, 48.3%, 48.5%, 48.0%, and 59.7%, respectively (P<.001). Use of SFRT increased in each of 5 regional centers: A: 26% to 32%; B: 36% to 56%; C: 39% to 57%; D: 49% to 56%; and E: 73% to 85.0%. Use of SFRT was more consistent; 3 of 5 centers used SFRT for 56% to 57% of bone metastases RT courses. The regression analysis showed strong evidence that the usage of SFRT increased after the 2012 intervention (odds ratio 2.27, 95% confidence interval 2.06-2.50, P<.0001). Conclusion Assessed on a population basis, an audit-based intervention increased utilization of SFRT for bone metastases. The intervention reversed a trend to decreasing SFRT use, reduced costs, and improved patient convenience. This suggests that dissemination of programmatic quality indicators in oncology can lead to increased utilization of evidence-based practice. © 2016 Elsevier Inc.


Olson R.A.,Cancer Agency Center for the North | Olson R.A.,University of Northern British Columbia | Olson R.A.,University of British Columbia | Tiwana M.S.,Cancer Agency Center for the North | And 12 more authors.
International Journal of Radiation Oncology Biology Physics | Year: 2014

Purpose There is abundant evidence that a single fraction (SF) of palliative radiation therapy (RT) for bone metastases is equivalent to more protracted and costly multiple fraction courses. Despite this, there is low utilization of SFRT internationally. We sought to determine the utilization of SFRT in a population-based, publicly funded health care system. Methods and Materials All consecutive patients with bone metastases treated with RT during 2007 to 2011 in British Columbia (BC) were identified. Associations between utilization of SFRT and patient and provider characteristics were investigated. Results A total of 16,898 courses of RT were delivered to 8601 patients. SFRT was prescribed 49% of the time. There were positive relationships among SFRT utilization and primary tumor group (P<.001; most commonly in prostate cancer), worse prognosis (P<.001), increasing physician experience (P<.001), site of metastases (P<.001; least for spine metastases), and area of training (P<.001; most commonly for oncologists trained in the United Kingdom). There was wide variation in the prescription of SFRT across 5 regional cancer centers, ranging from 25.5% to 73.4%, which persisted after controlling for other, potentially confounding factors (P<.001). Conclusions The large variability in SFRT utilization across BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) cancer centers suggests there is a strong cultural effect, where physicians' use of SFRT is influenced by their colleagues' practice. SFRT use in BC was similar to that in other Canadian and western European reports but strikingly higher than in the United States. Further work is needed to standardize SFRT prescribing practices internationally for this common indication for RT, with the potential for huge health system cost savings and substantial improvements in patients' quality of life. © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


Pope D.J.,University of Wollongong | Cutajar D.L.,University of Wollongong | George S.P.,University of Wollongong | Guatelli S.,University of Wollongong | And 5 more authors.
Physics in Medicine and Biology | Year: 2015

Low dose rate brachytherapy is a widely used modality for the treatment of prostate cancer. Most clinical treatment planning systems currently in use approximate all tissue to water, neglecting the existence of inhomogeneities, such as calcifications. The presence of prostatic calcifications may perturb the dose due to the higher photoelectric effect cross section in comparison to water. This study quantitatively evaluates the effect of prostatic calcifications on the dosimetric outcome of brachytherapy treatments by means of Monte Carlo simulations and its potential clinical consequences. Four pathological calcification samples were characterised with micro-particle induced x-ray emission (μ-PIXE) to determine their heavy elemental composition. Calcium, phosphorus and zinc were found to be the predominant heavy elements in the calcification composition. Four clinical patient brachytherapy treatments were modelled using Geant4 based Monte Carlo simulations, in terms of the distribution of brachytherapy seeds and calcifications in the prostate. Dose reductions were observed to be up to 30% locally to the calcification boundary, calcification size dependent. Single large calcifications and closely placed calculi caused local dose reductions of between 30-60%. Individual calculi smaller than 0.5 mm in diameter showed minimal dosimetric impact, however, the effects of small or diffuse calcifications within the prostatic tissue could not be determined using the methods employed in the study. The simulation study showed a varying reduction on common dosimetric parameters. D90 showed a reduction of 2-5%, regardless of calcification surface area and volume. The parameters V100, V150 and V200 were also reduced by as much as 3% and on average by 1%. These reductions were also found to relate to the surface area and volume of calcifications, which may have a significant dosimetric impact on brachytherapy treatment, however, such impacts depend strongly on specific factors in the patient's individual treatment. These factors include the number, size, composition and spatial distribution of calcifications in the prostate as well as the distribution of brachytherapy seeds. © 2015 Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine.


PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Lethbridge, Cancer Agency Center for the North and University of Northern 333 University way
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Journal of bone oncology | Year: 2016

This study assesses the incidence of distal bone metastases in palliative radiotherapy (RT) patients.All courses of RT for bone metastases from 2007-2011 for patient living in British Columbia (BC) were identified in a provincial RT programme. Treated bone metastases (BoM) were categorized as distal if the BoM was located within or distal to the elbow or knee. Patients were grouped by primary tumour site as breast, lung, prostate gastrointestinal, haematological, melanoma, and other. The incidence of distal bone metastases and associations with primary tumour types were determined.From 2007 to 2011, 8008 patients were treated with 16,277 courses of RT, of which 425 (3%) were courses of RT for distal BoM. The incidence of distal BoM in decreasing order by primary tumour type was melanoma (5%), haematological (3%), lung (2%), other (2%), prostate (2%), breast (1%) and gastrointestinal (1%). Distal BoM where more commonly identified in the lower extremity (87%, p<0.001). Single fraction RT was used more commonly for distal vs non-distal BoM (66% vs. 49%; p<0.001).The incidence of distal BoM among patients treated with palliative RT was 3% and most commonly identified in patients with melanoma and haematological malignancies.


PubMed | University of Calgary, Cancer Agency Center for the North, University of British Columbia, Cancer Agency Research Center and 2 more.
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics | Year: 2015

To assess the impact of a population-based intervention to increase the consistency and use of single-fraction radiation therapy (SFRT) for bone metastases.In 2012, an audit of radiation therapy prescriptions for bone metastases in British Columbia identified significant interphysician and -center (26%-73%) variation in the use of SFRT. Anonymous physician-level and identifiable regional cancer center SFRT use data were presented to all radiation oncologists, together with published guidelines, meta-analyses, and recommendations from practice leaders. The use of SFRT for bone metastases from 2007 through 2011 was compared with use of SFRT in 2013, to assess the impact of the audit and educational intervention. Multilevel logistic regression was used to assess the relationship between the usage of SFRT and the timing of the radiation while controlling for potentially confounding variables. Physician and center were included as group effects to account for the clustered structure of the data.A total of 16,898 courses of RT were delivered from 2007 through 2011, and 3200 courses were delivered in 2013. The rates of SFRT use in 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2013 were 50.5%, 50.9%, 48.3%, 48.5%, 48.0%, and 59.7%, respectively (P<.001). Use of SFRT increased in each of 5 regional centers: A: 26% to 32%; B: 36% to 56%; C: 39% to 57%; D: 49% to 56%; and E: 73% to 85.0%. Use of SFRT was more consistent; 3 of 5 centers used SFRT for 56% to 57% of bone metastases RT courses. The regression analysis showed strong evidence that the usage of SFRT increased after the 2012 intervention (odds ratio 2.27, 95% confidence interval 2.06-2.50, P<.0001).Assessed on a population basis, an audit-based intervention increased utilization of SFRT for bone metastases. The intervention reversed a trend to decreasing SFRT use, reduced costs, and improved patient convenience. This suggests that dissemination of programmatic quality indicators in oncology can lead to increased utilization of evidence-based practice.


PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia, Cancer Agency Center for the North and Cancer Agency Vancouver Center
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Current oncology (Toronto, Ont.) | Year: 2014

The unmet needs of cancer survivors in rural, remote, and aboriginal communities are largely unexplored. We explored potential differences between rural survivors (rss) in 4 general population (gp) and 4 First Nations (fn) communities.We approached 4 gp and 4 fn rs communities to participate in a mixed-methods project. Participants completed the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (hads) and the Survivor Unmet Needs Survey (suns) and provided demographic information. Each question on the suns can be scored from 0 to 4, with 0 representing no unmet need and 4 representing very high unmet need. A directed approach to content analysis of focus group and interview data was used to triangulate the hads and suns results.We prospectively accrued 23 fn rss and 56 gp rss for this study. More fn rss had borderline or abnormal anxiety (5% vs. 21%, p = 0.02). Compared with gp rss, fn rss had higher unmet needs scores in all categories: Information (2.29 vs. 0.8, p < 0.001), Work and Financial (1.66 vs. 0.5, p < 0.001), Access and Continuity of Health Care (1.83 vs. 0.44, p < 0.001), Coping and Sharing (2.22 vs. 0.62, p < 0.001), and Emotional (2.12 vs. 0.63, p < 0.001). The qualitative findings provided examples and insight into the unmet needs experienced by rss.First Nations rss had significantly higher anxiety and unmet needs compared with their gp rs counterparts. In addition, different qualitative themes were identified in the groups. Our findings support the development of tailored approaches to survivorship for these populations.


Fuchsia Howard A.,University of British Columbia | Smillie K.,University of British Columbia | Turnbull K.,Cancer Agency Center for the North | Zirul C.,University of Northern British Columbia | And 7 more authors.
Journal of Rural Health | Year: 2014

Background: Rural cancer survivors (RCS) potentially have unique medical and supportive care experiences when they return to their communities posttreatment because of the availability and accessibility of health services. However, there is a limited understanding of cancer survivorship in rural communities. Purpose: The purpose of this study is to describe RCS experiences accessing medical and supportive care postcancer treatment. Methods: Interviews and focus groups were conducted with 52 RCS residing in northern British Columbia, Canada. The data were analyzed using qualitative content analysis methods. Results: General Population RCS and First Nations RCS experienced challenges accessing timely medical care close to home, resulting in unmet medical needs. Emotional support services were rarely available, and, if they did exist, were difficult to access or not tailored to cancer survivors. Travel and distance were barriers to medical and psychological support and services, not only in terms of the cost of travel, but also the toll this took on family members. Many of the RCS lacked access to trusted and useful information. Financial assistance, for follow-up care and rehabilitation services, was rarely available, as was appropriate employment assistance. Conclusion: Medical and supportive care can be inaccessible, unavailable, and unaffordable for cancer survivors living in rural northern communities. © 2014 National Rural Health Association.


PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia and Cancer Agency Center for the North
Type: Journal Article | Journal: International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics | Year: 2014

There is abundant evidence that a single fraction (SF) of palliative radiation therapy (RT) for bone metastases is equivalent to more protracted and costly multiple fraction courses. Despite this, there is low utilization of SFRT internationally. We sought to determine the utilization of SFRT in a population-based, publicly funded health care system.All consecutive patients with bone metastases treated with RT during 2007 to 2011 in British Columbia (BC) were identified. Associations between utilization of SFRT and patient and provider characteristics were investigated.A total of 16,898 courses of RT were delivered to 8601 patients. SFRT was prescribed 49% of the time. There were positive relationships among SFRT utilization and primary tumor group (P<.001; most commonly in prostate cancer), worse prognosis (P<.001), increasing physician experience (P<.001), site of metastases (P<.001; least for spine metastases), and area of training (P<.001; most commonly for oncologists trained in the United Kingdom). There was wide variation in the prescription of SFRT across 5 regional cancer centers, ranging from 25.5% to 73.4%, which persisted after controlling for other, potentially confounding factors (P<.001).The large variability in SFRT utilization across BC Cancer Agency (BCCA) cancer centers suggests there is a strong cultural effect, where physicians use of SFRT is influenced by their colleagues practice. SFRT use in BC was similar to that in other Canadian and western European reports but strikingly higher than in the United States. Further work is needed to standardize SFRT prescribing practices internationally for this common indication for RT, with the potential for huge health system cost savings and substantial improvements in patients quality of life.


PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia and Cancer Agency Center for the North
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology | Year: 2016

There is abundant evidence in support of single fraction (SF) radiation therapy (RT) for uncomplicated bone metastases (BoM). We sought to determine the proportion of BoM that is complicated in a population-based RT program in order to act as a potential guide for assessing SFRT utilization rates.A total of 3200 RT courses were prescribed to 1880 consecutive patients diagnosed with BoM in 2013. Associations between choice of RT fractionation and BoM characterization, whether complicated or not, were assessed with logistic regression.The incidence of complicated BoM was 34.4%, resulting most often from adverse features of actual pathological fracture (42.1%), and neurological compromise (36.3%). Complicated BoM were most common in lung cancers (24.2%) and in the spine (68.5%), followed by extremity (15.2%) and pelvis (14.4%). SFRT was prescribed less commonly in complicated versus un-complicated BoM (39.4% vs. 70.4%; p<0.001), which was confirmed on multivariable analysis (OR 0.32; 95% CI 0.28-0.61; p<0.001).This study found that 34.4% of BoM are complicated by fracture, or neurological compromise (i.e. 65.6% were un-complicated), and that they were less likely to receive SFRT. A reasonable benchmark for SFRT utilization should be at least 60%.


PubMed | University of British Columbia, University of Northern British Columbia and Cancer Agency Center for the North
Type: Journal Article | Journal: Radiotherapy and oncology : journal of the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology | Year: 2015

This study assessed the impact of the distance a patient travelled to the treatment centre on the use of single fraction RT for bone metastases. There was significant variability in the prescription of SFRT by distance at which the patient lives from a cancer centre (p<0.001).

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