Transportation - A vehicle or roadblock to cancer care for VA patients with colorectal cancer?

Leah L. Zullig, George L. Jackson, Dawn Provenzale, Joan M. Griffin, Sean Phelan, Michelle Van Ryn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

13 Scopus citations

Abstract

Patients must have transportation before they can access appropriate cancer care. The Cancer Care Assessment & Responsive Evaluation Studies (C-CARES) questionnaire surveyed colorectal cancer patients diagnosed in 2008 throughout the VA healthcare system. A minority (19%) of respondents reported transportation barriers. Patients experiencing pain and who reported no primary social support (OR 6.13, 95% CI 3.10, 12.14) or non-spousal support (OR 2.00, 95% CI 1.40, 2.87) were more likely to experience transportation barriers. Background: Patients must have transportation to the treatment site before they can access appropriate cancer care. This article describes factors associated with patients experiencing transportation-related barriers to accessing cancer care. Patients and Methods: The Cancer Care Assessment & Responsive Evaluation Studies (C-CARES) questionnaire was mailed to Veterans Affairs (VA) patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) during the fall of 2009. Eligible patients were diagnosed at any VA facility in 2008, they were men, and alive at the time of the mailing. A total of 1409 surveys were returned (approximately 67% response rate). To assess transportation barriers, patients were asked how often it was difficult to get transportation to or from treatment. Symptoms were assessed using validated Patient-Reported Outcomes Measurement Information System (PROMIS) scales for fatigue, pain, and depression. Multivariate logistic regression was used to examine determinants of transportation barriers. Results: A minority of respondents (19%) reported transportation barriers. Patients experiencing pain (OR, 1.04; 95% CI, 1.02-1.06) had greater odds of transportation barriers than patients without this symptom. Patients who reported no primary social support (OR, 6.13; 95% CI, 3.10-12.14) or nonspousal support (OR, 2.00; 95% CI, 1.40-2.87) were more likely to experience transportation barriers than patients whose spouses provided social support. Discussion: Patients with uncontrolled pain or less social support have greater odds of transportation barriers. The directional association between social support, symptoms, and transportation cannot be determined in this data. Conclusion: Inquiring about accessible transportation should become a routine part of cancer care, particularly for patients with known risk factors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)60-65
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Colorectal Cancer
Volume11
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2012

Keywords

  • Access to health care
  • Colorectal neoplasms
  • Health services research
  • Veterans Affairs

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Gastroenterology

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