Radiation therapy interruption (RTI) worsens cancer outcomes. Our purpose was to benchmark and map RTI across a region in the United States with known cancer outcome disparities.
Methods and Materials
All radiation therapy (RT) treatments at our academic center were cataloged. Major RTI was defined as ≥5 unplanned RT appointment cancellations. Univariate and multivariable logistic and linear regression analyses identified associated factors. Major RTI was mapped by patient residence. A 2-sided P value <.0001 was considered statistically significant.
Between 2015 and 2017, a total of 3754 patients received RT, of whom 3744 were eligible for analysis: 962 patients (25.8%) had ≥2 RT interruptions and 337 patients (9%) had major RTI. Disparities in major RTI were seen across Medicaid versus commercial/Medicare insurance (22.5% vs 7.2%; P < .0001), low versus high predicted income (13.0% vs 5.9%; P < .0001), Black versus White race (12.0% vs 6.6%; P < .0001), and urban versus suburban treatment location (12.0% vs 6.3%; P < .0001). On multivariable analysis, increased odds of major RTI were seen for Medicaid patients (odds ratio [OR], 3.35; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.25-5.00; P < .0001) versus those with commercial/Medicare insurance and for head and neck (OR, 3.74; 95% CI, 2.56-5.46; P < .0001), gynecologic (OR, 3.28; 95% CI, 2.09-5.15; P < .0001), and lung cancers (OR, 3.12; 95% CI, 1.96-4.97; P < .0001) compared with breast cancer. Major RTI was mapped to urban, majority Black, low-income neighborhoods and to rural, majority White, low-income regions.
Radiation treatment interruption disproportionately affects financially and socially vulnerable patient populations and maps to high-poverty neighborhoods. Geospatial mapping affords an opportunity to correlate RT access on a neighborhood level to inform potential intervention strategies.