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Luke R.G. Pike, Trevor J. Royce, Amandeep R. Mahal, Daniel W. Kim, William L. Hwang, Brandon A. Mahal, and Nina N. Sanford

Background: Socioeconomic factors affecting outcomes of HPV-associated squamous cell carcinoma of the head and neck (SCCHN) are poorly characterized. Methods: A custom SEER database identified adult patients with primary nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status diagnosed in 2013 through 2014. Multivariable logistic regression defined associations between patient characteristics and HPV status, with adjusted odds ratios (aORs) and 95% confidence intervals reported. Fine-Gray competing risks regression estimated adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs) and 95% confidence intervals for cancer-specific mortality (CSM), including a disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction term. Results: A total of 4,735 patients with nonmetastatic SCCHN and known HPV status were identified. HPV-associated SCCHN was positively associated with an oropharyngeal primary, male sex, and higher education, and negatively associated with uninsured status, single marital status, and nonwhite race (P≤.01 for all). For HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, white race was associated with lower CSM (aHR, 0.55; 95% CI, 0.34–0.88; P=.01) and uninsured status was associated with higher CSM (aHR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.19–8.13; P=.02). These associations were not observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharynx SCCHN. Accordingly, there was a statistically significant disease subsite * HPV status * race interaction (P interaction<.001). Conclusions: Nonwhite race and uninsured status were associated with worse CSM in HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN, whereas no such associations were observed in HPV-negative or nonoropharyngeal SCCHN. These results suggest that despite having clinically favorable disease, nonwhite patients with HPV-positive oropharyngeal SCCHN have worse outcomes than their white peers. Further work is needed to understand and reduce socioeconomic disparities in SCCHN.

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Nina N. Sanford, David J. Sher, Xiaohan Xu, Chul Ahn, Anthony V. D’Amico, Ayal A. Aizer, and Brandon A. Mahal

Background: Alcohol use is an established risk factor for several malignancies and is associated with adverse oncologic outcomes among individuals diagnosed with cancer. The prevalence and patterns of alcohol use among cancer survivors are poorly described. Methods: We used the National Health Interview Survey from 2000 to 2017 to examine alcohol drinking prevalence and patterns among adults reporting a cancer diagnosis. Multivariable logistic regression was used to define the association between demographic and socioeconomic variables and odds of self-reporting as a current drinker, exceeding moderate drinking limits, and engaging in binge drinking. The association between specific cancer type and odds of drinking were assessed. Results: Among 34,080 survey participants with a known cancer diagnosis, 56.5% self-reported as current drinkers, including 34.9% who exceeded moderate drinking limits and 21.0% who engaged in binge drinking. Younger age, smoking history, and more recent survey period were associated with higher odds of current, exceeding moderate, and binge drinking (P<.001 for all, except P=.008 for excess drinking). Similar associations persisted when the cohort was limited to 20,828 cancer survivors diagnosed ≥5 years before survey administration. Diagnoses of melanoma and cervical, head and neck, and testicular cancers were associated with higher odds of binge drinking (P<.05 for all) compared with other cancer diagnoses. Conclusions: Most cancer survivors self-report as current alcohol drinkers, including a subset who seem to engage in excessive drinking behaviors. Given that alcohol intake has implications for cancer prevention and is a potentially modifiable risk factor for cancer-specific outcomes, the high prevalence of alcohol use among cancer survivors highlights the need for public health strategies aimed at the reduction of alcohol consumption.

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Edward Christopher Dee, Vinayak Muralidhar, Santino S. Butler, Zizi Yu, Sybil T. Sha, Brandon A. Mahal, Paul L. Nguyen, and Nina N. Sanford

Background: A significant proportion of cancer survivors endorse ongoing health information needs and may use the internet to access information. We assessed patterns and predictors of general and health-specific internet use among cancer survivors. Methods: Using data from the National Health Interview Survey (NHIS), which was administered in 2013 through 2018, for adults reporting a cancer diagnosis, sample weight-adjusted estimates defined prevalence and multivariable logistic regressions defined adjusted odds ratios (aORs) of general and health-specific internet use, adjusting for relevant sociodemographic covariates, including healthcare satisfaction as the primary independent variable. The analysis for health-specific internet use was also repeated including a sex (female vs male)*healthcare satisfaction (very satisfied/somewhat satisfied vs somewhat dissatisfied/very dissatisfied) interaction term. Results: Among 12,970 survivors of cancer, general and health-specific internet use increased from 2013 to 2018 (from 63.2% to 70.8% and from 46.8% to 52.2%, respectively; P<.05 for both). Survivors who were very dissatisfied with healthcare were more likely to use the internet for health information compared with those who were very satisfied (59.5% vs 48.0%; aOR, 1.78; 95% CI, 1.20–2.64; P=.004). Younger age, female sex, higher educational attainment, and higher socioeconomic status were all associated with increased reported use of the internet for both general and health-specific purposes (P<.001 for all). There was a significant sex*healthcare satisfaction interaction (P=.009) such that for female survivors, healthcare dissatisfaction was associated with higher odds of health-specific internet use (61.4% vs 52.5%; P<.001; men, P=.97). No association was found between healthcare satisfaction and general internet use (P=.42). Conclusions: The increasing proportion of survivors of cancer using the internet for health-specific information may be associated with self-reported dissatisfaction with healthcare. Efforts are needed to improve both access to the internet and the quality of cancer-relevant online health information, and to enhance patients’ online health literacy.

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Nina N. Sanford, Todd A. Aguilera, Michael R. Folkert, Chul Ahn, Brandon A. Mahal, Herbert Zeh, Muhammad S. Beg, John Mansour, and David J. Sher

Background: Adjuvant therapy for resected pancreatic adenocarcinoma was given a category 1 NCCN recommendation in 2000, yet many patients do not receive chemotherapy after definitive surgery. Whether sociodemographic disparities exist for receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy is poorly understood. Methods: The National Cancer Database was used to identify patients diagnosed with nonmetastatic pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent definitive surgery from 2004 through 2015. Multivariable logistic regression defined the adjusted odds ratio (aOR) and associated 95% CI of receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy. Among patients receiving chemotherapy, multivariable logistic regression assessed the odds of treatment with multiagent chemotherapy. Results: Among 18,463 patients, 11,288 (61.1%) received any adjuvant chemotherapy. Sociodemographic factors inversely associated with receipt of any adjuvant chemotherapy included uninsured status (aOR, 0.61; 95% CI, 0.50–0.74), Medicaid insurance (aOR, 0.66; 95% CI, 0.57–0.77), and lower income (P<.001 for all income levels compared with ≥$46,000). Black race (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.57–0.90) and female sex (aOR, 0.75; 95% CI, 0.65–0.86) were associated with lower odds of receiving multiagent chemotherapy. There was a statistically significant interaction term between black race and age/comorbidity status (P=.03), such that 26.4% of black versus 35.8% of nonblack young (aged ≤65 years) and healthy (Charlson-Deyo comorbidity score 0) patients received multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy (P=.006), whereas multiagent adjuvant chemotherapy rates were similar among patients who were not young and healthy (P=.15). Conclusions: In this nationally representative study, receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy appeared to be associated with sociodemographic characteristics, independent of clinical factors. Sociodemographic differences in receipt of adjuvant chemotherapy may represent a missed opportunity for improving outcomes and a driver of oncologic disparities.