A real‐world, population‐based study of patterns of referral, treatment, and outcomes for advanced pancreatic cancer

A retrospective analysis of population-based cancer data in Alberta, Canada was carried out to describe patterns of referral, consultation and treatment of advanced pancreatic cancer patients. 1621 patients diagnosed with either locally advanced or metastatic pancreatic cancer from 2009 to 2016 were included. In this sample, the median age was 70 years, 50% were men, and 51% had a Charlson index of 2+. Only 54% of patients were referred to one of the provincial cancer centers. Older age and worse comorbidity scores were associated with non-referral. For those who had treatment, younger age, earlier stage, and better co-morbidity scores were all significantly associated with improved overall survival. Neither referral to consultation times nor consultation to treatment times were significantly associated with outcomes. Finally, non-referred patients were more likely to use acute care services. With a significant proportion of patients with advanced pancreatic cancer never being referred to a cancer center, future efforts should aim to understand some of the drivers of non-referral, improving the overall quality of care.

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