Background: Pancreatic cancer is an aggressive disease characterized by early and relentless tumor spread, thus leading healthcare providers to consider it a “distant disease.” However, local pancreatic tumor progression can lead to substantial morbidity. This study defines the long-term morbidity from local and nonlocal disease progression in a large population-based cohort. Methods: A total of 21,500 Medicare beneficiaries diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in 2000 through 2011 were identified. Hospitalizations were attributed to complications of either local disease (eg, biliary disorder, upper gastrointestinal ulcer/bleed, pain, pancreas-related, radiation toxicity) or nonlocal/distant disease (eg, thromboembolic events, cytopenia, dehydration, nausea/vomiting/motility problem, malnutrition and cachexia, ascites, pathologic fracture, and chemotherapy-related toxicity). Competing risk analyses were used to identify predictors of hospitalization. Results: Of the total cohort, 9,347 patients (43.5%) were hospitalized for a local complication and 13,101 patients (60.9%) for a nonlocal complication. After adjusting for the competing risk of death, the 12-month cumulative incidence of hospitalization from local complications was highest in patients with unresectable disease (53.1%), followed by resectable (39.5%) and metastatic disease (33.7%) at diagnosis. For nonlocal complications, the 12-month cumulative incidence was highest in patients with metastatic disease (57.0%), followed by unresectable (56.8%) and resectable disease (42.8%) at diagnosis. Multivariable analysis demonstrated several predictors of hospitalization for local and nonlocal complications, including age, race/ethnicity, location of residence, disease stage, tumor size, and diagnosis year. Radiation and chemotherapy had minimal impact on the risk of hospitalization. Conclusions: Despite the widely known predilection of nonlocal/distant disease spread in pancreatic cancer, local tumor progression also leads to substantial morbidity and frequent hospitalization.
Reith R. Sarkar, Katherine E. Fero, Daniel M. Seible, Neil Panjwani, Rayna K. Matsuno and James D. Murphy
Eric J. Roeland, Daniel P. Triplett, Rayna K. Matsuno, Isabel J. Boero, Lindsay Hwang, Heidi N. Yeung, Loren Mell and James D. Murphy
Background: The role of palliative care has expanded over the past several decades, although the oncology-specific regional evolution of this specialty has not been characterized at the population-based level. Methods: This study defined the patterns of palliative care delivery using a retrospective cohort of patients with advanced cancer within the SEER-Medicare linked database. We identified 83,022 patients with metastatic breast, prostate, lung, and colorectal cancers. We studied trends between 2000 through 2009, and determined patient-level and regional-level predictors of palliative care delivery. Results: Palliative care consultation rates increased from 3.0% in 2000 to 12.9% in 2009, with most consultations occurring in the last 4 weeks of life (77%) in the inpatient hospital setting. The rates of palliative care delivery were highest in the West (7.6%) and lowest in the South (3.2%). The likelihood of palliative care consultation increased with decreasing numbers of regional acute care hospital beds per capita. The use of palliative care consultation increased with increasing numbers of regional physicians. The use of palliative care decreased with increasing regional Medicare expenditure with a $1,387 difference per beneficiary between the first and fourth quartiles of palliative care use. Conclusions: Geographic location influences a patient's options for palliative care in the United States. Although the overall rates of palliative care are increasing, future effort should focus on improving palliative care services in regions with the least access.