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Applying Quality Indicators to Examine Quality of Care During Active Surveillance in Low-Risk Prostate Cancer: A Population-Based Study

Narhari Timilshina, Antonio Finelli, George Tomlinson, Beate Sander, and Shabbir M.H. Alibhai

Background: Although a few studies have reported wide variations in quality of care in active surveillance (AS), there is a lack of research using validated quality indicators (QIs). The aim of this study was to apply evidence-based QIs to examine the quality of AS care at the population level. Methods: QIs were measured using a population-based retrospective cohort of patients with low-risk prostate cancer diagnosed between 2002 and 2014. We developed 20 QIs through a modified Delphi approach with clinicians targeting the quality of AS care at the population level. QIs included structure (n=1), process of care (n=13), and outcome indicators (n=6). Abstracted pathology data were linked to cancer registry and administrative databases in Ontario, Canada. A total of 17 of 20 QIs could be applied based on available information in administrative databases. Variations in QI performance were explored according to patient age, year of diagnosis, and physician volume. Results: The cohort included 33,454 men with low-risk prostate cancer, with a median age of 65 years (IQR, 59–71 years) and a median prostate-specific antigen level of 6.2 ng/mL. Compliance varied widely for 10 process QIs (range, 36.6%–100.0%, with 6 [60%] QIs >80%). Initial AS uptake was 36.6% and increased over time. Among outcome indicators, significant variations were observed by patient age group (10-year metastasis-free survival was 95.0% for age 65–74 years and 97.5% in age <55 years) and physician average annual AS volume (10-year metastasis-free survival was 94.5% for physicians with 1–2 patients with AS and 95.8% for those with ≥6 patients with AS annually). Conclusions: This study establishes a foundation for quality-of-care assessments and monitoring during AS implementation at a population level. Considerable variations appeared with QIs related to process of care by physician volume and QIs related to outcome by patient age group. These findings may represent areas for targeted quality improvement initiatives.

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Incident Cancer Detection During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Antoine Eskander, Qing Li, Jiayue Yu, Julie Hallet, Natalie G. Coburn, Anna Dare, Kelvin K.W. Chan, Simron Singh, Ambica Parmar, Craig C. Earle, Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, Monika K. Krzyzanowska, Timothy P. Hanna, Antonio Finelli, Alexander V. Louie, Nicole Look Hong, Jonathan C. Irish, Ian J. Witterick, Alyson Mahar, Christopher W. Noel, David R. Urbach, Daniel I. McIsaac, Danny Enepekides, and Rinku Sutradhar

Background: Resource restrictions were established in many jurisdictions to maintain health system capacity during the COVID-19 pandemic. Disrupted healthcare access likely impacted early cancer detection. The objective of this study was to assess the impact of the pandemic on weekly reported cancer incidence. Patients and Methods: This was a population-based study involving individuals diagnosed with cancer from September 25, 2016, to September 26, 2020, in Ontario, Canada. Weekly cancer incidence counts were examined using segmented negative binomial regression models. The weekly estimated backlog during the pandemic was calculated by subtracting the observed volume from the projected/expected volume in that week. Results: The cohort consisted of 358,487 adult patients with cancer. At the start of the pandemic, there was an immediate 34.3% decline in the estimated mean cancer incidence volume (relative rate, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.57–0.75), followed by a 1% increase in cancer incidence volume in each subsequent week (relative rate, 1.009; 95% CI, 1.001–1.017). Similar trends were found for both screening and nonscreening cancers. The largest immediate declines were seen for melanoma and cervical, endocrinologic, and prostate cancers. For hepatobiliary and lung cancers, there continued to be a weekly decline in incidence during the COVID-19 period. Between March 15 and September 26, 2020, 12,601 fewer individuals were diagnosed with cancer, with an estimated weekly backlog of 450. Conclusions: We estimate that there is a large volume of undetected cancer cases related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Incidence rates have not yet returned to prepandemic levels.

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Incident Cancer Detection During Multiple Waves of COVID-19: The Tsunami After the Earthquake

Rui Fu, Rinku Sutradhar, Qing Li, Timothy P. Hanna, Kelvin K.W. Chan, Jonathan C. Irish, Natalie Coburn, Julie Hallet, Anna Dare, Simron Singh, Ambica Parmar, Craig C. Earle, Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, Monika K. Krzyzanowska, Antonio Finelli, Alexander V. Louie, Nicole J. Look Hong, Ian J. Witterick, Alyson Mahar, David Gomez, Daniel I. McIsaac, Danny Enepekides, David R. Urbach, and Antoine Eskander

No population-based study exists to demonstrate the full-spectrum impact of COVID-19 on hindering incident cancer detection in a large cancer system. Building upon our previous publication in JNCCN, we conducted an updated analysis using 12 months of new data accrued in the pandemic era (extending the study period from September 26, 2020, to October 2, 2021) to demonstrate how multiple COVID-19 waves affected the weekly cancer incidence volume in Ontario, Canada, and if we have fully cleared the backlog at the end of each wave.