A new study indicates that people who have undergone colon cancer surgery are less likely to get chemotherapy after the procedure to reduce the risk of future risk if they have to travel far for the appointments.
Guidelines recommend that stage III colon cancer patients start receiving adjuvant chemo within three months of surgery.
"In some cases in the study, travel distance to treatment was really a barrier for patients to receive treatment. We tried to understand how oncologist availability in the area could be another barrier, and we found that for patients without private insurance, oncologists do make a difference," said lead author Chun Chieh Lin of the American Cancer Society in Atlanta, Georgia to Reuters Health.
The research team analyzed data from close to 35,000 patients with stage III colon cancer. Three-quarters of them received adjuvant chemo within three months of the surgery.
As distance to the therapy center increased, the likelihood of getting the chemo decreased. People who had to travel more than 250 miles were about 60% less likely to get adjuvant chemotherapy than those who had to travel less than 12.5 miles.
The study was published the Journal of Clinical Oncology.