(ChemotherapyAdvisor) – Hospitalization data will help patients with pancreatic cancer to make more informed choices regarding their care following diagnosis, according to a team of researchers of The University of Texas Medical Branch, Galveston, TX. This conclusion is based on a study entitled “Hospital and Medical Care Days in Pancreatic Cancer,” which was published in the August issue of the Annals of Surgical Oncology.
A diagnosis of pancreatic cancer is probably the most dreaded of all cancer diagnoses because the general population is aware of the staggering mortality rate associated with this deadly disease. In this study, the investigators aimed to collect data on “resource utilization (number of days in the hospital or medical care) between diagnosis and death in patients with pancreatic cancer.” To meet their aim, the investigators mined Surveillance, Epidemiology, and End Results (SEER)-Medicare data that provided resource utilization on 25,476 patients diagnosed with pancreatic cancer during the years 1992 to 2005.
The investigators reported that, for patients in this data set, hospital stays reached a mean of 6.4 days and 9.0 days of medical care in the first month after diagnosis; these rates decreased to 1.7 and 3.7 days per month, respectively, by the end of the first year.
“Hospital/medical care days per month of life were higher in patients with shorter survival but increased sharply at the end of life in all patients, regardless of duration of survival,” the investigators wrote.
“In patients with locoregional disease, resection was associated with a higher number of hospital/medical care days during the first 4 months after diagnosis, but fewer at the end of the first year. For distant disease, hospital days were similar but days in medical care were higher for patients receiving chemotherapy, increasing especially at the end of life.”
These findings will likely enable patients to achieve quality of life while grappling with a disease that significantly reduces quantity of life.