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Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Study shows greater survival at medical centers with more experience

A recent study by Chen and colleagues from the Department of Surveillance and Health Policy Research, (Cancer. 2010 ;116:4744-52.) American Cancer Society showed improved survival of patients with advanced laryngeal cancer is the highest when they are treated at high-volume teaching facilities for patients with this type of cancer.
A total of 19,326 patients who were diagnosed with advanced laryngeal cancer (stage III and IV) between 1996 and 2002 and who received treatment chemoradiotherapy, total laryngectomy, or radiotherapy were analyzed from the National Cancer Database.
Patients were treated with total laryngectomy (37.6%), chemoradiotherapy (29.4%), and radiotherapy alone (33%). Overall, 36.2% of patients were treated at high-volume teaching/research centers (average, 17.1 cases per year). The author found that receiving treatment at high-volume teaching/research facilities was associated with improved survival. Undergoing total laryngectomy also was associated with improved survival.
This findings support what most people had assumed to be the case, that patients with cancer have the best chances for long term survival if they get care at centers with the greatest amount of experience. This is particularly important when the cancer is a relatively infrequent one such as laryngeal cancer.