A population-based study examining the influence of a specialized rapid-access cancer clinic on initial treatment choice in localized prostate cancer

Larissa J. Vos, Clement K. Ho, Bryan J. Donnelly, J. Dean Reuther, Marc Kerba


Introduction: Treatment decisions in localized prostate cancer are complicated by the available choices. A rapid-access cancer clinic (RAC) has been unique to Calgary, AB, since 2007. This RAC offers multidisciplinary prostate cancer education by a urologist, medical oncologist, and radiation oncologist. It is hypothesized that treatment utilization data from decisions taken at RAC may serve to benchmark the appropriateness of treatment decisions on a population level.

Methods: Records of patients with clinically localized prostate cancer in Alberta between October 1, 2007 and September 30, 2009 were reviewed with ethics approval. Records were linked to the Alberta Cancer Registry database. Clinical, treatment, and health services characteristics pertaining to patients attending RAC were compared to the general population. The primary endpoint was utilization rates of each initial treatment.

Results: During this two-year period, 2838 patients were diagnosed with localized prostate cancer; 375 attended RAC. The utilization rates among RAC patients vs. the whole Alberta population were: prostatectomy 60.3% (95% confidence interval [CI] 55.3–65.2) vs. 48.0% (95% CI 47.1‒50.7; χ2 p<0.001); active surveillance 16.0% (95% CI 12.3‒19.7%) vs. 13.5% (95% CI 12.2‒15.8; χ2 p=0.214); radiotherapy 11.7% (95% CI 8.5‒15.0) vs. 18.0% (95% CI 16.9‒20.5; χ2 p=0.002); and hormone therapy 8.0% (95% CI 5.2‒10.8) vs. 17.4% (95% CI 16.1‒18.9; χ2 p<0.001).

Conclusions: A specialized clinic for localized prostate cancer may be associated with a higher likelihood of receiving surgery or active surveillance as initial treatment compared to the prostate cancer population in Alberta.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5489/cuaj.4866