Evidence of inequitable use of chemotherapy in New Zealand colorectal cancer patients

N Z Med J. 2020 Aug 21;133(1520):15-26.

ABSTRACT

AIMS: To explore variations in the use of and timeliness of chemotherapy in patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer in New Zealand.

METHODS: This study included patients diagnosed with colorectal cancer in New Zealand between 1 January 2006 and 31 December 2016. The first chemotherapy regime was identified from Pharmaceutical Collection dataset. Logistic regression model was used to estimate the adjusted odds ratio of having chemotherapy by subgroup after adjustment for other factors.

RESULTS: 27.8% (6,737/24,217) of colon cancer patients and 43.8% (3,582/8,170) of rectal cancer patients received publicly funded chemotherapy. The uptake and timeliness of chemotherapy has been improving over time. Pacific people were the least likely to receive chemotherapy, followed by Māori and Asian. Younger patients, New Zealand European, patients with metastatic disease and patients in the Southern Cancer Network were more likely to have chemotherapy in less than 10 weeks post-diagnosis. Over half of the advanced colorectal cancer patients who did not receive chemotherapy were aged 80+ years or had a short life expectancy.

CONCLUSIONS: Although the uptake and timeliness of chemotherapy for colorectal cancer has been improving, Māori, Pacific, Asian and older patients were less likely to receive chemotherapy and less likely to receive chemotherapy in a timely manner. There is a variation in use of chemotherapy by Region with patients in the Southern Cancer region appearing to be the most likely to receive chemotherapy and to receive it within a timely period.

PMID:32994590