Disparities in the Utilization of Laparoscopic Surgery for Colon Cancer in Rural Nebraska: A Call for Placement and Training of Rural General Surgeons

Kelli Gruber, Amr S. Soliman, Kendra Schmid, Bryan Rettig, June Ryan, Shinobu Watanabe-Galloway

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Advances in medical technology are changing surgical standards for colon cancer treatment. The laparoscopic colectomy is equivalent to the standard open colectomy while providing additional benefits. It is currently unknown what factors influence utilization of laparoscopic surgery in rural areas and if treatment disparities exist. The objectives of this study were to examine demographic and clinical characteristics associated with receiving laparoscopic colectomy and to examine the differences between rural and urban patients who received either procedure. Methods: This study utilized a linked data set of Nebraska Cancer Registry and hospital discharge data on colon cancer patients diagnosed and treated in the entire state of Nebraska from 2008 to 2011 (N = 1,062). Multiple logistic regression analysis was performed to identify predictors of receiving the laparoscopic treatment. Results: Rural colon cancer patients were 40% less likely to receive laparoscopic colectomy compared to urban patients. Independent predictors of receiving laparoscopic colectomy were younger age (<60), urban residence, ≥3 comorbidities, elective admission, smaller tumor size, and early stage at diagnosis. Additionally, rural patients varied demographically compared to urban patients. Conclusions: Laparoscopic surgery is becoming the new standard of treatment for colon cancer and important disparities exist for rural cancer patients in accessing the specialized treatment. As cancer treatment becomes more specialized, the importance of training and placement of general surgeons in rural communities must be a priority for health care planning and professional training institutions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)392-400
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Rural Health
Volume31
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 1 2015

Keywords

  • Access to care
  • Colon cancer
  • Laparoscopic colectomy
  • Minimally invasive surgery
  • Rural disparities

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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