National disparities in treatment package time for resected locally advanced head and neck cancer and impact on overall survival.
BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to determine national disparities in head and neck cancer treatment package time (the time interval from surgery through the completion of radiation) and the associated impact on survival.
METHODS: We conducted an observational cohort study using the National Cancer Database of 15 234 patients with resected head and neck cancer who underwent adjuvant radiotherapy from 2004-2012. Predictors of prolonged package time were identified by multivariable linear regression. Survival outcomes were assessed using a multivariable Cox model.
RESULTS: Mean package time was 100 days (SD 23). Package time was 7.52 days (95% confidence interval [CI] 6.23-8.81; P < .001) longer with Medicaid versus commercial insurance. Low income and African American race also predicted for longer package times. All-cause mortality increased an average of 4% with each 1 week increase in treatment package time (hazard ratio [HR] 1.04; 95% CI 1.03-1.05; P < .001).
CONCLUSION: Significant national socioeconomic disparities exist in treatment package time. Treatment delays in this setting may contribute to worse survival outcomes.
School of Medicine