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Cervical Cancer Patients More Likely to Survive if Treated at High-volume Medical Facilities

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Key Points

  • High-volume medical centers are more likely to be able to coordinate the multidisciplinary approach necessary for treating patients with locally advanced cervical cancer.
  • Patients were 22% more likely to receive brachytherapy and 9% more likely to receive the recommended chemotherapy if they attended a center that treats a high volume of cervical cancer patients.
  • Patients’ risk of dying from their disease dropped by 4% and they were more likely to receive the standard of care if they attended such a facility.

Patients with locally advanced cervical cancer have better treatment outcomes and are more likely to survive the disease if they receive care at a high-volume medical center than patients treated at low-volume facilities, according to research presented at the Society of Gynecologic Oncology’s Annual Meeting on Women’s Cancers in Los Angeles.

The study evaluated the relationship between treatment facility volumes and survival outcomes, using data from the National Cancer Database, a joint program of the American College of Surgeons and the American Cancer Society, which has tracked 26 million cancer patients treated at 1,500 hospitals across the United States. Researchers from the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC); the University of California, San Francisco; Saint Joseph’s Hospital of Creighton University; and Drexel University College of Medicine examined data from patients with cervical cancer from January 1, 1998, to December 31, 2010.

Multidisciplinary Approach

“Successful treatment requires that multiple medical professionals, including gynecologic oncologists and radiation oncologists, coordinate internal and external radiation treatments and concurrent chemotherapy,” said Jeff Lin, MD, the study’s principal investigator and a fellow in the Division of Gynecologic Oncology at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC. “This treatment plan can be very effective for patients with this disease and higher volume centers are more likely to be able to coordinate the multidisciplinary approach necessary for this kind of care.”

According to Dr. Lin, the study tallied patient volumes from centers tracked by the National Cancer Database, and found patients were 22% more likely to receive brachytherapy, the recommended radiation treatment approach for locally advanced cervical cancer, and 9% more likely to receive the recommended chemotherapy if they attended a center that treats a high volume of cervical cancer patients. Overall, patients’ risk of dying from their disease dropped by 4% and they were more likely to receive the standard of care if they attended such a facility.

Study Supports Previous Research

“Thanks to previous research, we’ve known that ovarian cancer patients show improved outcomes if they receive their care from centers that treat a high volume of cases each year,” said Thomas C. Krivak, MD, Dr. Lin’s mentor and the Director of the Gynecologic Oncology Fellowship Program at Magee. “This study indicates the same holds true for patients with cervical cancer. Now we can act on that knowledge.”

While effective screening techniques coupled with the human papillomavirus vaccine prevent many early-stage cervical cancers from occurring, approximately 12,000 women will be diagnosed with the disease this year in the United States. When found early, cervical cancer can be highly treatable.

The content in this post has not been reviewed by the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Inc. (ASCO®) and does not necessarily reflect the ideas and opinions of ASCO®.


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